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Call for radical solution to end ‘heart-breaking’ social care struggles in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 11:13 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:16 05 July 2018

Annabel James, founder of Age Space. Picture: agespace.org

Annabel James, founder of Age Space. Picture: agespace.org

agespace.org

Radical solutions, such as taxing the over-40s to raise money for social care, must be considered to tackle the ‘crisis’ of caring for elderly people, according to a Norfolk organisation.

Pic: Jonathan Brady/PA WirePic: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

A recent report from two House of Commons Select Committees called for the introduction of an over 40s social care premium.

That would either be as an extra element of National Insurance, or with the premium paid into a dedicated insurance fund ring-fenced for social care.

And the founder of Age Space Norfolk, which provides online help for people seeking advice and support for elderly parents and relatives, said it could help end the ‘heart breaking’ stories they hear from families struggling to care for ageing relatives.

Annabel James, the founder of Age Space, said: “Radical thinking such as an over-40s tax must one of the considerations, along with other ideas including a funding cap or floor.

“Pressure urgently needs be taken off families and friends providing the bulk – almost 40pc - of the care at the moment, a situation which is only going to get worse as our ageing population, with increasingly complex health needs, increases.

“So many of our subscribers at Age Space are truly desperate for help and support as they carry the burden of care for their elderly parents and relatives.

“The stories we hear are heart-breaking and shocking.”

She said Parliament needs to work across party lines to find a solution.

In 2018-19, £410m of Norfolk County Council’s gross budget of just over £1bn will be spent on adult social care. More than 50pc of the council’s growth pressures are driven by adult social care. Demographic growth alone increases the council’s costs by £6m a year.

For the past three years, Norfolk County Council levied what is known as the adult social care precept on council tax bills. But under the current arrangements, they will not be able to do so in 2019/20.

The government was due to publish a green paper this summer on how older people’s care should be funded, but that has been delayed.

The county council is looking to reduce the demand on residential care by finding ways to keep people independent and in their own homes.

Age Space Norfolk is at www.agespace.org/local/Norfolk/

Here is an example of one of the people who has gone to Age Space in search of help:

“I have been caring for my mum since my dad passed away six years ago.

“She has a borderline personality disorder, which makes caring difficult, to say the least.

“There is little support and family members can tire of the demands.

“The GP can be helpful but a 10 minute chat doesn’t help the rest of the time.

“My mum is demanding and worrying and, alongside each of those needs and trying to balance life, work and family time isn’t easy.

“She has mental capacity to make her own decisions, so I can be left feeling trapped by her behaviour, the consequences of that and the reality that this isn’t going to change anytime soon.”

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