Anger over care bill for bedridden mum (85)

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AN elderly bedridden woman who cannot walk or talk faces a county council court threat over payment for her care.

Social Services are asking West Pinchbeck pensioner Catherine Falloon (85) to pay £161 a week for 20 hours’ care – leaving her with just 75p a week to live on.

According to her daughter, Eileen Bradford-Fawson, if her mum lived alone – with no family to care for her at nights – she would not be asked for a penny.

Mrs Falloon suffers from the muscle-degenerative disease, Parkinson’s, and lives with her daughter in Northgate.

Mrs Falloon has 50 hours’ free care each week, arranged through the Primary Care Trust, but must pay for an additional 20 hours provided through Social Services.

Mrs Bradford-Fawson (62) said the Social Services care was set up a year ago but in January she was told they wanted to charge £161 a week and back-date that to September.

She said: “It will leave my mother with around £3 a month to live on from her pension.”

Mrs Falloon previously lived nearby in her own home, which she part-owned, until she became too ill to manage.

Mrs Bradford-Fawson said if her mother were to move back into that house – and live alone – she wouldn’t have to pay a penny to Social Services in care bills.

She said her mum is too poorly to live alone and she’s been told the case will go to court if they don’t pay up.

Mrs Bradford-Fawson said: “The care package was set up about a year ago from today and they didn’t say there was any payment to be made.

“My mother cannot pay it and I am certainly not taking it on board.

“If they (Social Services) want to take an 85-year-old woman to court, fine. She is a very sick woman. She can’t speak, she can’t walk, she has a job eating.”

Mrs Bradford-Pawson says her mother’s pension is spent on personal needs and bills for the upkeep of her former home, which is on the market but unsold. She does not want to put her mother in a care home.

Mrs Bradford-Fawson said she thought she had done the right thing by taking her mother in because she is safer, but Social Services had told her she shouldn’t be looking after her.

She said: “I don’t quite understand what Social Services are supposed to do for people. I am struggling to find out what their role in society is.”

The council’s assistant director of adult social care, Pete Gittins, said the authority hasn’t ruled out court action.

He said: “We will be liaising with Mrs Falloon and Mrs Bradford-Fawson to make their position clear – they are no different to other people who may have to pay a contribution to care.

“All people accessing care are assessed as to whether they have to make a contribution.

“Any court action is taken as a last resort and we wouldn’t want to go down that route unless absolutely necessary.”

Mr Gittins said Mrs Falloon is currently assessed as having to pay a contribution of £137 a week.

He said: “Families aren’t being put in a position that a vulnerable elderly person must live alone in order to be identified to free care.

“We are carrying out an urgent recalculation to identify what Mrs Falloon’s contribution would be if she was living in her own home.

“At no time have we said that if Mrs Falloon was living in her own home she would not have to pay anything for her care.

“Additionally we haven’t led Mrs Bradford-Fawson to believe that her mother would not have to pay anything for short term care.”

Mr Gittins said council records of the meeting with Mrs Bradford-Fawson “do not agree” she was told she should not look after her mother.