A woman was paying £60,000 a year to fund her dementia-stricken mother’s care. Widowed former bookkeeper Sheila Rawdon, 93, was diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2012 but initially lived at home with carers. She died in August 2020 alone in the grip of Covid. Sheila went into her first home in 2013 but was removed by her family after two years amid concerns about the facility’s ability to look after her.
Fees at her last home – which was closed to visitors during the pandemic – topped £5,000 a month.
Retired Pam Pritchard, 63, from Titchfield, Hampshire, took out a £140,000 care annuity in 2014 which paid out £25,000 a year. But care home fees were so astronomically expensive she used her mother’s pensions and proceeds from the £360,000 sale of her house to meet rocketing costs.
She said: “I am sitting here thinking this just isn’t fair. Mum’s health was very good, it was just her mind that was suffering. She had no memory from one minute to the next. She couldn’t remember anything.”
Sheila and her husband Stan married in 1953 and celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in 2003. He died in 2008.
Mother-of-two Pam added: “If we hadn’t sold mum’s house she would have run out of money, and we simply wouldn’t have been able to afford to pay for her care.
“The Government should be helping with finances, because dementia is a medical disease – just like cancer – but the system is just not right or fair. The system needs wholesale reform.”
It comes after officials called for an £86,000 cap on care home costs to be introduced to prevent pensioners from selling their homes to cover their ‘catastrophic’ care expenses.
On Thursday, Sir Andrew Dilnot launched a scathing attack on potential moves by Rishi Sunak’s Government to push back the policy.
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Sir Andrew, who as chair of the Dilnot Commission on the Funding of Care and Support masterminded a cap on care costs 12 years ago, said he would be “astonished and very, very disgusted” if Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announces a cost-cutting delay in next week’s autumn statement.
“Once again pensioners who need social care and their families would know they are at the very, very bottom of the list of priorities.
“It’s happened before, it should not happen again. It’s not just about the cap on care home or nursing home costs, it’s also about the more generous threshold at which contributions become compulsory.”
Sir Andrew, now warden of Nuffield College, University of Oxford, was speaking to The Daily Express.
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Our campaign Respect for the Elderly has consistently called for a fairer deal for the nation’s frail elderly, many of whom have had to sell their homes to pay for their care.
He said: “The point of the care cap was to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“Any move to delay would be a backward step hitting the neediest and their families. Ministers should be ashamed. To pull the policy now would be a tragedy and breaking a promise which people have relied on since last September when the policy was announced.
“To rip away that help and support now is very, very difficult to defend. A delay of two years would make no difference to the public finances and would be astonishing and I hope nothing like that is being planned. That it is being considered is incredible and a cause for dismay.”
There is mounting concern that Mr Hunt and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are to row back on the launch of the care cap set for September 2023 in a bid to plug an alleged £30bn black hole in the UK’s finances.
Treasury sources have not denied the speculation that the introduction will be delayed until 2025.
Delaying the £86,000 cap and the associated reform of making the means-test for care more generous for two years would save about £2bn.
If the government also delayed its accompanying drive to ensure councils paid providers a fair cost of care, it would save a further £1.2bn between 2023/25.