OAPs put off day care due to cost

A 50 PER CENT drop in the number of pensioners attending day care sessions in Suffolk after charges of �15 were introduced were today described as “devastating”.

A 50 PER CENT drop in the number of pensioners attending day care sessions in Suffolk after charges of �15 were introduced were today described as “devastating”.

Two years ago, the Tory controlled county council scrapped free day care at its old peoples' homes and introduced the daily fee, which covers up to three sessions a day.

At the same time, charges for meals and transport increased significantly.

Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats have revealed that old folk attending sessions has reduced from 1,778 to 1,142, while the number of sessions on offer has halved from 124,450 to 68,520.


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The Lib Dem council group leader Kathy Pollard said: “This is devastating news for the welfare of our older people in Suffolk.

“We always suspected that the introduction of charges would stop older people attending day care, but we didn't realise that they would have had such a catastrophic effect.

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“Many older people either don't want to apply for benefits to offset the costs, or can't face filling in the long forms.”

One of the old folk who enjoys day car at Hadleigh's Angel Court old peoples' home is 88 year-old Olive Kistruck, who lives at Long Bessels in Hadleigh.

Although she receives her day care free, she still has to pay the increases in meals and transport.

“Until two years' ago, there were a dozen or so of us at the day care sessions. That figure has dropped to six - it is down to the introduction of charges.”

The Lib Dem claims were refuted by council leader Jeremy Pembroke.

“Mrs Pollard is quite wrong to claim that hundreds of people have stopped using day care services because they have been asked to pay more money - this is not the case,” he said.

“It is the case that our staff has been referring fewer older people to day care. This is for a number of reasons, including more choices being available for the elderly, such as our very successful Top Time sessions in libraries and a range of clubs run by voluntary organisations.”

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