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Elderly care cash is cut

PUBLISHED: 17:11 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:23 23 August 2010

The boss of an organisation for the elderly which is currently providing vital aid in freezing conditions has revealed her funding will be slashed next year. Annette Davis, 55, chief executive of Age Concern in Dartford claimed the cash axe will make the

The boss of an organisation for the elderly which is currently providing vital aid in freezing conditions has revealed her funding will be slashed next year.

Annette Davis, 55, chief executive of Age Concern in Dartford claimed the cash axe will make the job harder.

She said: "We are currently 42 per cent funded by government but because of planned changes to the way social care is paid for that is expected to fall, our funding looks set to decrease by up to five per cent.

"It will make our job harder but that will just make us worker harder to ensure that we provide the services then that we are able to now. We will be working very hard to make sure that we are here to help each and every older person who requests it next year."

Despite the blow Mrs Davis was quick to praise the actions of staff and residents in ensuring all senior citizens their care stayed safe during the sub-zero spell.

Although the day centre on Clarence Road, Gravesend was forced to close on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week Mrs Davis said Age Concern was extremely busy. All 117 registered senior citizens received personal visits and telephone calls from staff to ensure they were warm enough and had everything they needed.

She added: "We have had calls from the public offering all kinds of help and some of our staff walked in from places like Northfleet to ensure hot meals we ready."

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed a consultation on funding has been carried out but no decisions had been agreed.

He said: "Local government sometimes pay for social services that Age Concern provides for the elderly in their area. There has been consultation on proposed changed as to how this will be paid for but this has only just ended and exact figures have not yet been calculated.

"No formal decisions have been made."

Mrs Davis also revealed her frustration at the elderly who they cannot help.

She added: "We are aware of people in our own area that are vulnerable but without powers to enter their homes we can't forcibly help them."

In scenarios like this she urged neighbours and relatives to play their part and ensure that such people stayed safe. "People's actions at times like this restore your faith in human nature and the community in this area are great at looking out for each other," she said.

"If you suspect someone is at risk just call in, make a phone call and just take a short time to make sure they are OK and have everything they need."

She also urged pensioners to apply for cold weather payments but also slammed the rate of deaths amongst the elderly during the winter, adding: "It's a scandal that there was such a high increase in excess deaths last winter and the government must act to make sure it does not happen again.

"Currently anyone receiving pension credits is entitled to a £25 cold weather allowance during weeks of sub zero temperatures.

"To receive a payment, pensioners must register with their local pension centre and temperatures of zero degree or below must be recorded or forecast for seven consecutive days between November 1 and March 31." fintan.quinn@archant.co.uk

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