British pensioner dumped by family left in council's care
LONDON (AFP) - A British council home which has taken in an abandoned 82-year-old man appealed on Friday to his family to come forward, a day after they dumped him at an eastern English hospital.
The pensioner's family drove up from their home in southeastern Spanish resort town of Alicante, and dropped him off at the Oldchurch Hospital in Essex along with his birth certificate and a letter appealing for aid.
In it, his wife detailed the strain of looking after the pensioner, who suffers from Alzheimer's, saying it almost drove her to a nervous breakdown.
"I am leaving him in very good care because I am no longer able to cope with looking after him," she wrote.
The man's family are believed to have returned to their home in Spain.
The case has raised concern over the support and help available to relatives of the mentally handicapped.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4 programme Friday, Health Minister Stephen Ladyman expressed concern that the family was pushed to such drastic measures.
"They shouldn't have been allowed to get into the state where they are desperate," he said, arguing that local government officials or doctors could have provided assistance.
However, Clive Evers, director of information and education at the Alzheimer's Society, said that people with dementia and their carers often receive support only when they have reached a crisis point.
A survey carried out in June last year by British learning disability charity Mencap revealed that 60 percent of Britain's six million unpaid carers and family members do not get any extra support or even the chance of taking regular short breaks during the day, even though they provide most of the care for people with dementia.
Jo Williams, chief executive of the charity, condemned the case as a "shocking example of how society is failing to care for the most vulnerable people".
The pensioner's case follows a number of drastic cries for help.
In October, an elderly couple from Merseyside, in northern England, made a suicide pact, claiming they could no longer cope with caring for their 33-year-old autistic daughter. The father died but the mother survived after they both took a cocktail of drugs and walked into the sea.
This is a result of the British Social services who time after time and year after year let people suffer just so they can rush in at the last minute and save the day just to get a promotion. This organization is a god-damned disgrace and they should take out the social workers that fail and publicly horse-whip each and every one of them. Well apart from Cafcass who they should just put a bullet straight in to their heads. I've never seen a good report about British social Services and more and more of these stories appear every day yet the people at the head of this organization still do nothing. How the hell can these people sleep at night knowing they bring so much suffering to so many families i will never know!