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Direct Payments changed my life! – Worcestershire resident
11:52am Wednesday 18th July 2012 in County Bulletin
'Direct Payments' doesn't sound life changing, it doesn't even sound that exciting; but having been introduced to it by her social worker, 87-year-old Edith Haering has gone from strength to strength.
Edith lives alone in Kidderminster, she has osteoporosis and since returning to the area from the USA following the death of her American husband, found herself struggling to get out her bungalow, effectively cut adrift from the outside world.
She said: "Living alone is the most soul destroying thing; you are isolated, just you, the empty house and your thoughts. In time you can't cope, you can't walk, you can't go shopping and then you just don't want to get up and face another empty day. There wasn't anything to live for. I had a nervous breakdown and went into respite care, but that's just bed and food, I wanted company."
Edith had spent a couple of years living like this. She was alone and had little or no interaction with people. She was supported by the county council's Adult Social Care team with a dedicated social worker and it was they who first mentioned Direct Payments as an alternative way for Edith to access services and to regain control of her life. Simply put, Direct Payments are payments of money made by the county council to people so they can arrange their own care when they need it.
"Having taken up a Direct Payment I employed an agency to help me with the housework, to take me out shopping to the supermarket, trips to garden centres and the best part is having nice long chats with their staff. Having no close relatives I had to make my own decisions. I didn't want to go into a care home. Because I have Direct Payments I can stay in my own home, please myself when I go to bed, sleep in my own bed, watch TV and I'm contented again."
Since the Direct Payment, Edith's had a new lease of life. She has even found an eye for art and her impressive paintings now take pride of place in her living room. She urged other people who are eligible for social care support to consider Direct Payments too.
She said: "I feel very fortunate at my age that because of Direct Payments my mind is now at rest. I don't worry anymore and I just wish everyone who feels how I used to feel would ask their social worker about Direct Payments and start to live again."
Edith has also just taken part in a DVD on Direct Payments which has been produced by the council's Adult Social Care Team. The DVD talks about how Direct Payments are administered, who is eligible and how they work and highlights the benefits to Edith and other service users. It will be available on the website – www.worcestershire.gov.uk/directpayments - towards the end of this week.
Cllr Philip Gretton, Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: "Edith is a great example of someone who has benefited immeasurably from Direct Payments, which do give people greater choice and control over the care they receive and who provides it."
For more information visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/directpayments.