Help The Aged Slam Social Services After OAP’s Death

A leading pensioners’ charity has slammed social services for failing to respond to an SOS call regarding a seriously ill 85-year-old. Help the Aged says it would expect the organisation to make every attempt to contact an elderly person in need.

The Evening Mail revealed how Claude Reginald Jones died from hypothermia after he was found collapsed at the bottom of the stairs in his Carlisle Street home, Barrow, on December 20.

A concerned shopkeeper contacted social services but was told that there was nothing they could do. They said they would have needed permission from the pensioner to intervene. As a result of their policy they did not attend Mr Jones’s home. The former draughtsman died 24 hours later.

Jonathan Ellis, senior policy manager for Help the Aged, said: “We would expect social services to make every attempt to contact the older person in question when receiving calls of this nature. In the first instance they should try to find out if an older person needs help and what sort of services they would benefit from.

“It is then up to the older person to decide if they would like to accept any offer of help. But we would urge people not to be put off contacting social services if they are concerned about the well-being of an older person.”

Mark Graham, a spokesman for Cumbria Adult Social Care, reiterated today they needed the permission of individuals before they could offer help. He said: “This is the case in nearly all circumstances, other than where issues such as mental health and allega tions of abuse are involved, before we can offer any assistance. Every adult has the right to choose their own lifestyle, even when it may sometimes not be in their best interests.

“In this instance, we asked the shopkeeper who contacted us if she could speak to the man about giving his permission for Cumbria Adult Social Care to offer support which she said at the time she was reluctant to do. We always encourage anyone who is concerned about a neighbour or friend to get them to contact Cumbria Adult Social Care.”

A spokesperson for Age Concern said: “This is a tragic incident and we of fer our deepest sympathies to Mr Claude Jones’s family and friends. It is difficult for an organisation to force anyone to take assistance they have not requested. We would urge anyone who is concerned about an older person to talk to them about ways they could receive help.”