Appeal to Norfolk’s elderly over impact of cuts

Two charities are appealing for individuals and organisations to tell them how cuts are affecting their lives and work.

Both Age UK Norwich and Age UK Norfolk want to hear from older people, and those who care about them, if they are having problems with social care – whether it is increasing charges, poor quality of care or just not being able to get the care they need.

Phil Wells, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, said the cuts in Norfolk had so far been somewhat cushioned thanks to some extra health funding.

He said: 'Our view is that generally the real cuts are just now beginning to happen and we are expecting to start hearing about it.'

The appeal is part of a national data-collection exercise to understand the impact of the cuts – and the growing mismatch between older people's needs and the care budget.

Mr Wells added: 'It may be that we can help, if someone is not getting the help they have a right to, but we are also working together with Age UK nationally to build up a picture of social care and to ensure the government understands what is really going on.

'If you have an experience to share with us about how social care is failing those who need it most, please let me know.

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'You can do so anonymously if you wish and, even if you give us your name, we will only pass it on with your permission.'

Eamon McGrath, Age UK Norfolk campaigns lead, said: 'We are beginning to slowly hear about one or two organisation where funding cuts have happened and the impact on them. We haven't had too many individuals, but we have had the odd one or two around reduction in hours of support or respite breaks because of tight funding.

'Also concerns about reassessments taking place and the impact of those, and moves to personal budgets and how they are having an impact on what people can afford to get or want to get.'

Next month economist Andrew Dilnot will deliver a long-awaited report and recommendations to the government on long-term social care and how it should be funded.

Ahead of the report, Age UK will be coming up with its own recommendations and that currently care and support in later life has reached financial breaking point.

It points out that in 2005 half of councils provided support to people assessed as having 'moderate' needs, but in 2011 the figure has fallen to 18pc. As a result, the number of people receiving local authority funded care at home has been slashed from 489,000 in 2004 to 299,000 in 2009.

Age UK Norwich can be contacted at Boardman House, Redwell Street, Norwich NR2 4SL or by calling 01603 496333.

Age UK Norfolk can be contacted at 300 St Faith's Road, Old Catton, Norwich NR6 7BJ or by calling 01603 787111.

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