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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March 2005, 18:17 GMT
'Give us more care' say elderly
Peggy Crack
At 103, Peggy is more worried about an eye test than choice
Elderly and disabled people would be able to choose how to spend the budget for their personal care under government proposals.

A consultation paper released on Monday aims to let them, rather than social services, decide to go for residential or home care, for example.

But at Elgin Avenue Day Centre, north west London, it was the day to day details of life that was exercising its clientele of elderly local residents.

Big government plans to shake up the

system and give them control of the cash came far down a list of concerns. Below eye test fees, pensioners' tax credit, garden access and mobility.

Budget benefits

The centre is open on weekdays, offering tea and lunch and social interaction to people brought in from home by bus.

Mary McCabe, 80, lives nearby in sheltered accommodation.

It is the amount of money spent on elderly care provision, and the thresholds for benefit entitlement that concerns her.

When the time comes and you can't manage, there's no other option
Daisy Cover

"I would like to see the government making it easier if you have to go into a care home - so that people won't have to pay the fees and sell their houses."

The government has ruled out free personal care in England but it is on offer in Scotland and Wales.

The proposals on care come ahead of a predicted May election, but Mary was unimpressed with last week's Budget changes for pensioners.

"The pension should be raised to a reliable level to match the cost of living," she says.

Own choices

At 103-years-old, Peggy Crack has seen many policy changes on elderly care.

But the latest plans pale in comparison to her own more immediate needs.

She wants an eye test. And after that, her concerns are about making it easier for people to collect pension money on her behalf.

Daisy Cover
Daisy knows she would rather choose care at home

Day care officer at the home, Olga Anderson, is sceptical about whether giving pensioners control over their own care, at an already advanced age, would work.

"It depends on the client, on their personality," she says. "For those who voice their views, I would say yes, but for those who don't, it would be hard.

"It would be nice to see it in practice to see if it works."

Daily worries

Daisy Cover, 76, knows she would prefer care at home and would welcome the chance to choose it.

"When the time comes and you can't manage, there's no other option. But you're used to your own home - like if you're sick, when you're at home you recover more quickly."

Tim Dennehy
For Tim, access is the important issue

For Tim Dennehy, 76, the focus is on the state of elderly care on a day to day level.

He would like more money to pay the rent on his flat - where there is a warden and a carer visits twice a week.

But, he says, when the weekday warden is away, the gardens are closed, and he cannot venture out onto an "unsafe" Harrow Road for fear of the traffic and crime.

"From Friday night I am locked in until Monday morning," he says.




SEE ALSO
Plan to give elderly care control
21 Mar 05 |  UK Politics
Review for care home standards
28 Oct 04 |  Health

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