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Blind and deaf Carlisle man left alone at home

A blind and deaf Carlisle man was left home alone after his elderly mother was taken into hospital.

The brother of Alan Foley, who is unable to speak, see or hear, has hit out at social services, saying he needs proper support and should never have been left alone overnight after his mother went into hospital.

His only protection is a Careline alarm – but as he cannot talk, his brother David, 58, believes it is of little use.

Their mother Lorna, 82, who Alan has lived with in the family home in Peel Street all his life, was hospitalised on Monday after she broke her hip in a fall.

Mr David said she was not expected to make a recovery for at least 14 weeks, leaving Alan, 56, at home with some support from carers.

Officials from Cumbria County Council’s Adult Social Care Department have agreed to spread out the 22 hours of home support he gets from Cumbria Deaf Vision.

He will also spend several hours with the Glenmore Trust on Thursdays.

But David, who is offering his brother support whenever he can, said Alan now needs a higher level of support, given the severity of his disability.

He said: “Our father died a couple of years ago, and since then my brother had depended on our mother.

“My biggest fear has always been that there should be a contingency plan if anything such as this happened, and I was assured that something would swing into place if ever our mother was taken ill. When I was on my way to see our mother in hospital I was shocked to later learn that Alan had been left on his own for the first time in 56 years in the house that night. It’s been that way since Monday.

“On Monday, I phoned social services and they offered to have the police break down the door but I did not want to further traumatise my brother. He’s in a state of shock.”

He said his brother’s only protection while at home was now a Careline alarm, but as Alan cannot talk it would be of little immediate use.

He added: “I’d like to see Alan in to some kind of sheltered accommodation because he is clearly vulnerable.”

David said he had written to Cumbria County Council, suggesting that his brother, who is among the most vulnerable people in the community, had been let down.

A county council spokesman said: “After meeting his family earlier this week, this client’s care arrangements were altered to better suit his needs following the change in circumstances.

“We have also reassured him and his family that we are looking at what the best care arrangements will be for him in the long-term.

“As we would do in any situation like this we will meet with the client and their family after a week to examine how the new arrangement is working to see what, if anything, needs to be changed.”

Have your say

A man with these disabilities deserves all the support he can be given and since his mother is an old lady this should have been considered and planned for already. Unfortunately we waste money on the undeserving single women, pushing their trophy babies around the streets whilst they talk away on their phones and puff away on their ciggies. At least the babies always have a Greggs sausage roll to wean on.

Posted by Grumpy old pensioner on 16 February 2012 at 16:03

There is no mention in the article of what the man himself wanted in terms of support, only the brothers thoughts. Perhaps the man did not want to move into sheltered accommodation? Yes, he is deaf and blind but there are other ways of making your wishes known- the use of an advocate etc. After all, the client has a right to have what he wants taken into account. For all we know he expressed a wish to stay in his own home and agreed to the support currently in place. Yes, a disable person should have the support they need but that doesn't mean that they are completely incapable of making their own decisions about their life. I would like to hear what the clients wishes actually are, not the brothers.

Posted by Claire on 15 February 2012 at 20:05

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