Here’s why you are right to be so angry

Friday 03 Oct, 2014 

  • Discover the mixed bag of responses to a letter about care

  • This is the proof that there is a problem – don’t ignore it

  • A final word... probably not!



Fireworks in September.

I didn’t imagine that my last two letters would have been like lighting the touch paper on a Bonfire night display – but that’s what happened.

By raising the issue about the increasing financial costs being levied on families to cover the cost of ageing or ill relatives I have fractured my readership.

If you are wondering what it is all about click here.

Over the last week your e-mails have been exploding into my inbox like never before.

And no-one has held back on sharing their views with me... some in distinctly Chaucerian language.

I’m a big boy and can take criticism without being offended, so I have actually enjoyed reading some of the comments and replying where I can.

The interesting thing was that your views fell into one of two camps.

First, the overwhelming number was from those who had suffered directly as a result of the problem I highlighted.

People at their wits end who had believed that they were alone in their worry.

Often these poor people were scared and very angry that the State seemed to have failed them.

Instead of helping to care for their family, they are now in the situation of scraping around for money to ensure that their loved ones see out their days in dignity and safety.

Homes are being sold, savings raided and real hardship endured.

For these, I have heartfelt sympathy and a determination to provide whatever information I can, plus a platform to share their views.

Then there were those who were angry that I had raised the issue at all or felt I was just plain wrong in my conclusions.

Accusing me of scaremongering and actually making a mountain out of a molehill.

In this case I understand their anger – after all it is why I felt the need to do what I did in highlighting the problems, but their ire is wrongly placed.

These are real problems as the response from the first group shows – I haven’t made this up. Real people are experiencing real problems and they don’t know where to go to get help to deal with them.

Until a few weeks ago I was in the same boat, this is a problem directly affects me and my family.

I am a scared and worried son of a father who has a condition that is slowly robbing us of his love and personality... and the State doesn’t seem to want to help.

I trawled all of the government agencies and help lines, I contacted my local social services and got very little information and help.

So, having found out a few things I wanted to share them, and with a little help I pulled together a rounded pack of aid for people in the same position I had found myself in.

Interestingly many people have chosen to access the material I prepared with Lewis Geary and have told me it has helped.

I am prepared to accept that this book isn’t the answer to everyone’s questions but it does provide an awful lot of information that isn’t available elsewhere – and by doing that allows you to enter the situation with an informed mind.

If you do then consult a lawyer or financial advisor you at least have the facts at your fingertips.

So to the folk I angered I apologise if you felt that I was being overly sensationalist in my letter – but that’s the problem of writing this stuff from the heart.

I tell you what I feel – and right now I feel angry that my mum and dad are being placed at risk.

There was, however, another subgroup who I fear for.

These were those who felt I had got everything wrong and that there was no risk to anyone in this country as a result of care in old age.

Some were passionate believers in the ‘British Way’ and felt that it would all be OK.

In much the same way that an ostrich buries it’s head in the sand to avoid seeing the lion.

Never a safe position to adopt – especially in matters such as these.

Then there were others who were legal or financial professionals who identified errors in my thinking or inaccuracies in the data I drew together.

Naturally I respect their training and knowledge but would point out that I used financial reports, charity statistics and  UK government population details to reach my conclusions – I didn’t make them up.

When the Alzheimers Society publish a report saying that these charges amount to a ‘care tax’ and that dementia patients in the UK will have to pay for the greater proportion of their care out of their own pockets I feel justified in raising these issues as I have.

I’m not the only one trying to help either.

I’m very grateful to one reader who told me that her husband works for the charity Age UK and that she and he have direct experiences that prove this is a real problem that isn’t going away.

She said Age UK have just published their own support material for this issue which includes a free fact sheet, but importantly they also offer free access to solicitors who offer 30-45 minutes of their time to those who need it.

People this IS a matter of concern and one that I have tried to provide a full and comprehensive overview for.

Please don’t be the ostrich or hope that by the time this affects you things will be different – take the right steps now.

The final word

In all of the scenarios above I’m glad to have got a response because it shows that people are becoming energised to considering their futures.

Whether you were angered or comforted by my words I respect the views you expressed.

When I discovered the options for care for dad I was shocked – not for my own self interest or wish to preserve an inheritance but because I felt it was so unfair for mum and dad.

By producing the report I hoped to share the information I had discovered with anyone it might be of value to...

...but if you feel opposed to that I do understand.

What is not an option for anyone is to think it won’t affect you or that it is too early to think about how you can take steps to prepare for the future.

I have received too many e-mails from those who know different – where a failure to understand has led to real hardship and upset.

Whatever your viewpoint, make sure that you truly have the information you need to make your decision.

Yours, as always

P.S. I understand that a technical gremlin might have prevented a few people from accessing the report – if so please accept my apologies but be assured that all is now fixed and can be accessed here




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