Elderly hit with charge for emergency aid

ELDERLY vulnerable people in Central Bedfordshire face being charged for an emergency aid which allows them to stay in their own homes for longer.

Telecare is a service for eldely people with conditions including dementia and sensory or physical impairment. Detectors, sensors and personal alarms are installed in people’s homes and connected to a control centre.

Central Bedfordshire Council has taken the decision to charge �4 per week – �208 per year – for the previously free service.

There is concern that some people will not be able to afford to pay.

“Any sort of charge for older people for a service which has been free is going to hit their finances, and that needs to be considered very carefully by Central Bedfordshire Council,” said Karen Perry, executive officer for charity Age UK Bedfordshire.

“It’s coming out of a pension when everything else is going up so high.

“We do need to be looking after people who need this kind of service.”

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Cllr Carole Hegley, the council’s executive member for social care, health and housing, said: “As more people are taking up the service, the cost of providing the service has risen.

“With enormous pressures on our budget we had to balance the option of introducing charging across the board, or limit to a few users for free, or increase council tax. We made the decision to introduce charging for Telecare.

“We are in the process of implementing the new charging policy and will be writing to all current Telecare customers over the coming weeks, advising them of how this will affect them.

“The letter advises any customer who is worried about not being able to afford the charge to contact us and we will explore the options with them.”

? Are you directly affected by the Telecare charges? Call the newsdesk on 01438 866200 or email editorial@thecomet.net