Britain's elderly are facing a pathetic plight as government cuts on social care services is making them pay extra charges for services such as home helps and delivered meals.
According to a survey, local authorities are planning to close down care homes and day centres, and others are making the eligibility criteria for free care more stringent. About 88 per cent of the †councils are planning to make the elderly to pay more for essential services like assistance with bathing and dressing. They are also limiting services to people whose needs have been marked as 'significant' or 'critical.' Old people are being driven to sell their own homes to pay for residential care.
†The councils blame cuts in government funding and an increasingly aging population for their actions. Emily Thornberry, the shadow care services minister, said, ""The Tory-led Government's approach means huge changes are being brought in very quickly, giving little time for consultation with staff and service users. On top of this, Local Authorities are faced with the confusion of David Cameron's wasteful top-down reorganisation of the NHS, which means that they are unable to plan for the long term."
On the other hand, the government charges the Labour councils of being politically motivated as they cut down on services. †Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said the survey findings were the direct result of Labour's failure to reform the funding of services.
In this political battle, it is the elderly who are becoming the victims. As Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, said: "We desperately hope that the cuts will not lead to deaths but we do know that they will lead to a more miserable existence for thousands of vulnerable and isolated older people".