Arthritic mum heading for big debt over sons’ care

Sleepless nights: Christine Collins fears she will be saddled with big debts to keep on caring for sons Paul and Clive.
Sleepless nights: Christine Collins fears she will be saddled with big debts to keep on caring for sons Paul and Clive.

AN ELDERLY mother who suffers from arthritis is facing being plunged into debt to pay for care for her sons, who have Huntington’s Disease.

Christine Collins (70), of Old Main Road in Fleet Hargate, has applied for help from Lincolnshire County Council to pay for care for sons Paul (41) and Clive (45), who both suffer from the degenerative disease which causes nerve cells in the brain to waste away.

She already has care for the brothers in the morning and does all she can for them at night but needs support in between now that she suffers from arthritis and struggles with manual day to day tasks.

Mrs Collins says that the care, from 4pm to 9pm, can be funded through a ‘personal budget’ with the council but, although the cash was agreed in January, the money has not yet arrived.

In the meantime Mrs Collins has arranged for the care she needs but has had to fund it herself, spending about £4,000 to date. She is now looking at bank overdrafts for her and her sons’ accounts to keep the support which helps with tasks such as meal times and helping the brothers go to the toilet.

Mrs Collins said: “I have used £4,000 of my own money and next month I will have to have an overdraft – I can’t do without the care because I am disabled myself.

“I don’t sleep at night through worrying about this.”

The pair were both diagnosed with Huntington’s in the last decade. The condition is incurable and affects a person’s control over their behaviour, movements and mental state.

The council was not able to comment on Mrs Collins’ particular case at time of press but the story follows that of Holbeach crash victim Adam Seth.

Mr Seth (22) was left paralysed after a collision in January 2010 and, despite being approved for cash seven months ago, is only now set to get the first payment released.

The council has changed the way it funds adult social care in line with a move from central government. People eligible are now provided with a ‘personal budget’ and choose how to spend it themselves.