New charges to hit dementia victims?

DEMENTIA sufferers could be among those discouraged from using day care services if North Somerset Council introduces charges, according to one councillor. Councillor Tom Leimdorfer says plans to charge would also result in additional stress on families o

DEMENTIA sufferers could be among those discouraged from using day care services if North Somerset Council introduces charges, according to one councillor.Councillor Tom Leimdorfer says plans to charge would also result in additional stress on families of vulnerable people who use the services.Cllr Leimdorfer said: "It is regrettable because those who are most vulnerable are likely to be hit hardest but I would prefer some form of charging to a loss of services."The warning comes as senior councillors look at ways of closing a £17million gap in the unitary authority's budget over the next two years. Adults with learning disabilities are cared for at the Scotch Horn Centre in Nailsea and the William Knowles Centre in Weston.Day care centres such as the Severn Day Centre in Worle could also be affected. The centres provide activities for people over 65 years old suffering from dementia and who are independently mobile including musical bingo, reminiscence games, gentle exercise and regular outings to places of interest.The council already charges for some adult care services, including community meals.Charges for frozen and hot meals have recently increased as a result of the ongoing budget review.Officers are also looking into using private contractors for adult care as opposed to in-house staff.Council officers said the independent sector was now better equipped to provide the extra care which is needed and acknowledged that the sector is now more heavily regulated than in the past.


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