Saturday 22 January 2022

Elderly must be allowed to pay relatives for care services: high court

Local authorities cannot refuse to give the frail elderly an allowance to help pay for care if their adult children refuse to help out, the administrative high court said on Thursday.

This means that elderly parents can pay their children to carry out domestic and other chores if they have a personal care allowance (pgb).

The case dates back to 2015 when Etten-Leur council ended payments to an elderly local resident, arguing her daughter, who did not work, should have helped out voluntarily instead.

The daughter had cleaned her mother’s house and carried out other duties in return for payment from the pgb allowance. But when the council stopped payments, the daughter, who lives nearby, refused to continue.

However, the court ruled that the council cannot compel relatives to carry out domestic tasks without being paid. Nor can it assume that relatives will be prepared to help out, the court said.

The court press officer said the ruling will have implications for other local councils which assume families will carry out domestic duties for vulnerable elderly relatives.

Lower budgets

The government had hoped that by transferring responsibility to councils and slashing budgets by 40% families, friends and neighbours would clean and shop for the frail elderly and handicapped instead.

However, research by the SCP last year involving 5,000 people shows that many don’t want to ask friends and family for help and that councils have failed to attract the number of volunteers they had hoped for.

In addition, four in 10 people do not have a network they can turn to for help, the SCP said.

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