Letter: Help for the old and alone

Click to follow
The Independent Online
JOHN SHEPPARD found care in the community a personal disaster. As reported by Jason Bennetto ('A neighbour rots on the 7th floor', 19 December), he was found dead in his flat on the seventh floor of a housing estate in Harlesden. The police believed he died in the summer of 1990.

Relying on professional services to care for our isolated and elderly at risk is a nonsense. We cannot afford a social worker for every street and block of flats.

It is now more than 20 years since the first pilot project of street-elected neighbourhood councils was started in Liverpool. One of their first priorities was to appoint a neighbourhood workers team where trusted and reliable local people were appointed from each of the blocks of flats and clusters of streets, whose responsibilities would be to visit those alone and at risk. This system still works well. Despite receiving minuscule grants from the local authority, the system has not been widely used.

In order to avoid this kind of unnecessary disaster and misery to human beings who live alone, central and local government should examine projects such as elected neighbourhood councils which can be effectively linked to the professional services thus forming a caring network that will be able to provide adequate care for those at risk.

Teddy Gold

Priority Area Development

Liverpool L16