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Cost of home care for elderly 'could soar by a third'
Elderly people in Bradford are facing spiralling bills for help to get washed, dressed and fed at home after Bradford Council revealed it could hike the cost of home care by a third.
The Council yesterday confirmed it is holding a consultation into increasing its fees for “non-residential services” from its hourly rate of £10.35 to £13.75 – as well as axing a cap limiting the amount a person would have to spend on help to £199 a week.
The hourly figure would put the cost of home care in Bradford above the national average of £13.61.
Jean Walker, of campaign groups Bradford Older People’s Alliance and Bradford and District Senior Power, said she feared elderly residents could be forced to save cash on “essentials” like food and heating if the cost of their home care increased.
She said: “The cost of everything is going up and it’s very worrying that people desperate for help might take shortcuts to save money. To pay for their home care, they might choose to miss out on something else that is vital to their health.”
Home care is means tested and councils have varying “eligibility criteria” for elderly or disabled people based on low, moderate, substantial or critical need.
Bradford Council is one of the few areas of the country that offers care to anyone assessed as moderate or above.
Monique Tanghe, whose paralysed husband Daniel, 77, receives home care three times a week, said she would struggle to pay if the cost of care went up.
Mrs Tanghe, 62, of Ashfield Drive, Frizinghall, said: “The help we get is like a lifeline for both of us. We don’t get any help towards the cost and I’ve noticed a steady increase over the years. There should be a cap to stop the cost getting too high.”
In Bradford the number of people getting free or partly funded care by the Council has increased, despite a significant fall in numbers nationally. In the district 830 people aged 65 or more made no contribution to the care they received in 2011/12 compared with 351 two years ago. The number of people who receive partial funding also increased in the two-year period from 1,156 to 2,008.
Dave Preston, Bradford Council’s business manager in adult services, said charges for non-residential services in Bradford had not increased in 2012/13 but confirmed the policy was under review. He added: “Bradford's non-residential charging policy has been the subject of a recent consultation with service users and other stakeholders and the outcome will be reported back to the Council’s Executive before any decision is taken as to whether to increase care charges.”