Council blasted for sending complex forms to dementia sufferers

A COUNCIL has been blasted as “farcical” for mailing a tough questionnaire to people in the advanced stages of dementia.

A tricky set of tick-box questions was sent out by Barnsley Council in South Yorks to test the water over its plans to raise charges for its care services.

But forms sent to dementia sufferers were marked for their attention only.

The Alzheimer’s Society said: “It is farcical to address consultation letters directly to people who sadly do not have the capacity to respond in a meaningful way.” One relative of a dementia sufferer said: “This letter came to my father, who now hides all his post so we found it by chance.

“Social Services are involved in his care, but they still ask him these questions. He struggles to remember what day it is or what happened five minutes ago, so how do they expect him to give reliable answers?

“The letter says it must be opened only by him, there was no suggestion that he should pass it on.

“Even then, it would be a case of relatives answering with their views, which doesn’t seem fair.”

In a bid to save money, Barnsley Council is consulting on a system where those people with savings of £23,000 would pay the full cost of their care, up to a weekly ceiling.

A Barnsley Council spokesman said: “The consultation is open to anyone in the community… Many people with dementia, or other forms of mental incapacity, are still able to give an informed opinion with assistance. We have provided a helpline.”