Letter: Legacies at risk: the cost of care for the elderly and children's duty to their parents

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am sick to death of the sniping you carry on against the private residential care sector, and today's article stating that elderly people are having to sell their homes to fund the cost of private residential care is the last straw.

Any person coming in to care has to sell his house to fund it, be it the private sector, residential or nursing, the voluntary sector or local authority homes. I would like to point out that the basic fee charged by the local authority homes is much higher than in the private homes, and if people are unable to fund themselves the cost comes from the poll tax. Those who do come in to care could stay at home I suppose and their families buy in the care needed, thus keeping the house. In our experience, families are very willing for the house to go as they cannot cope with the 'care'.

You may like to know that public expenditure on fees for residential and nursing care has indeed risen over the past 10 years, but this has allowed even larger savings in local authority care and NHS hospital beds costs. It has been estimated that in nursing home places alone the private sector saves the NHS pounds 178m a week, or pounds 7.9bn a year, based on an NHS bed cost of pounds 250 a day.

We home owners are constantly being vilified both in the press and on television. As in all walks of life there is the odd bad apple, but 99.9 per cent of us work jolly hard, have long hours and try our best to improve our residents' quality of life.

It would be nice if, just sometimes, you could look on the positive side. You may even like to visit some residential homes and see the work they do first hand.

Yours faithfully,

M. L. STRONG

Proprietor

Connaught House

Residential Home

Plymouth

5 October

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