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TORIES U-TURN ON "DEMENTIA TAX". DON'T BELIEVE IT.

My mum lives in the Hemel Hempstead constituency. Except she thinks she is still in Sheffield. 

Because three years ago she began to show signs of dementia and I was recently forced to move her into a care home to be near myself and my husband when things deteriorated rapidly.

For almost two years we managed with carers going into the house and with me filling in the gaps, driving up to Sheffield on my days off, shopping, taking mum out and simply checking everything was ok. I work full-time. I have advanced cancer although mum can't remember the last bit. Dad died 21 years ago of cancer himself so although the house was not taken into account - as it would be under the Tories new plans for a dementia tax - we still had to pay for carers going in three times a day as he left mum some modest savings which crossed the £23,000 threshold. Whether it was through the council or private companies you still have to pay under that system. And both as I discovered can be a minefield.

My parents were not wealthy. They left school at 14, worked all their lives, saved and were terrified of getting into debt having witnessed the poverty of the 1930s. I was lucky to get a free grant to go to university in the 1980s because they earned so little - the first in my family to get a degree. Mum's dad was a miner - more of that later - and dad's dad worked in the steel industry.

Having been on a council house waiting list for eight years when they first got married - living with the in-laws - they instead managed to save up a small deposit, enough in those days to buy a house. They were as Theresa May would like to say "ordinary working people." Though they voted Labour all their lives and mum still wants to register her vote against May on June 8. That's one thing she does remember, having been born just two years after women were finally granted a full vote in 1928.

But her savings for dementia care are fast dwindling away, forcing me to sell the house back in Sheffield where she had lived for 50 years to meet the costs. How do you explain to a care home - well can we keep £100,000 back or defer it under the Tories latest plans which remain unclear as they still refuse to clarify any detail just day before the General Election? Some care homes even want proof of two years money up front without even selling the family home. And what happens when all the money runs out with care places, council or otherwise fast becoming scarce.

Mum bless, having been moved down here straight from a Sheffield hospital after a bad fall, thinks her care is being provided free. When we go out for tea she tells me "take the money from my purse, it's not like I'm spending anything while I'm staying here."

For her generation were told if they paid their stamps and worked hard they would be looked after in their old age so I can understand why they feel angry, if they even comprehend what is happening. Get cancer like me and dad and you can - just about these days - get free care from the NHS. Get dementia and you will under Theresa May's plans be taxed and - despite what she claims - still likely to lose your home. A planned cap on care fees in the last Tory manifesto was scrapped as soon as they were elected. So why trust them again despite already claiming to re-think the dementia tax?

A cousin has just experienced worse. A few weeks ago I sat with my uncle - an ex-miner and mum's brother-in-law - who has also been forced to sell his house to move into a care home with my aunt. He was in tears as he held my hand. "What has this country become? I'd be better off in jail. At least then I would get free meals and board."

He had been caring for my aunt who also has dementia until he had a major stroke just before Christmas which left him paralysed. When my cousin recently asked what happens when the money runs out for them both she was told by social services battling to cope under local cuts: "They'll probably end up in different places and that's if we can find anywhere." The best offer of a care package to keep them in their own house was three visits during the DAY. It was pointed out that during the night my aunt had already been found wandering outside, could set the house on fire and and my uncle would now be lying there unable to move, powerless to help himself never mind anyone else. Both now in their 80s they too were once "ordinary working people." 

As one man trying to cope with an elderly mother with dementia said on the BBC last week if there was a care system that was broken we could fix it - but there isn't even a care system.

To change our society for the better vote for Mandi Tattershall and Labour's politics of hope, not the politics of despair.

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Hemel Hempstead Labour Party posted about TORIES U-TURN ON "DEMENTIA TAX". DON'T BELIEVE IT. on Hemel Hempstead Labour Party's Facebook page 2017-05-29 16:42:47 +0100
Vikki's blog post on caring for her mum who has dementia and the failing care system under the Tories.
@Hemellabour tweeted this page. 2017-05-29 16:42:43 +0100
Vikki's blog post on caring for her mum who has dementia and the failing care system under the Tories. http://www.hemellabour.org.uk/dementia_tax?recruiter_id=26

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