‘Cruel’ plan will see Denbighshire OAP’s lose carers

PENSIONERS say they have been left devastated by “cruel” plans to snatch their care workers away from them.

As part of a rolling ‘Reablement’ programme by Denbighshire Council, home helps who have served elderly residents for years, are being taken away and swapped with staff from outside agencies.

In one case, a 98-year-old lady was reduced to tears when her care worker and “honorary family member” of 18 years, was replaced.

The move comes amid plans to slowly phase out the level of support given to OAPs and disabled people, by helping them to build up the confidence to manage as many daily living tasks as possible on their own.

It means they will eventually be expected to handle duties like bathing, preparing meals and getting dressed, more independently.

The changes came into force in January and are sweeping their way across the county, ending this August in North Denbighshire, Llangollen and Corwen.

For Joan Jones, her help will be transferred into someone else’s hands this week, but all she’s been told is that they will be coming from the coast – miles away from her Ruthin home.

“I’ve only had my care worker for 16 months since I had a bad fall, but I have grown very attached to her and can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for the people who have had theirs for years,” she said.

“We are vulnerable and I feel like we’re being treated in an extremely cruel manner by being unceremoniously dumped on private agencies with no say in the matter.

“It is no exaggeration to say that this harsh treatment can be likened in some ways to a bereavement, especially in the case of many people who are entirely alone.”

Margaret Jones whose mum Elsie is preparing to say goodbye to her home help, added: “I’ve looked after mum for 10 years since she had a stroke and each morning our carer gets her up and dressed for me. This change will be very unsettling and unnecessary.”

And Doris Murray from Prestatyn said: “This plan is wicked, I’m 83 and have had my care worker for six years.

“I don’t know when I’ll get the new one but we don’t know each other and she doesn’t know where anything is. We haven’t been asked about this, we’ve just been told, it’s awful.”

A Denbighshire Council spokeswoman said: “Our social services department wants to work with residents to maintain and promote independence which is important to help them stay in their own homes for longer and to improve their quality of life.

“The in-house Homecare service is becoming a reablement service providing short term support to help people learn or regain daily living skills.

“In order to do this, people with longer term needs will have their care delivered by independent agencies. These agencies are regulated to the same standards as the in-house Homecare Service. People have been successfully supported locally in this way for many years. The payment method and the cost to the individual is the same. This change is not happening as a cost saving measure, but to improve the overall quality of our services.

“We understand that change can be unsettling but we believe we will deliver a more effective service through this initiative, which is happening all over Wales.”