“The cost of care left me afraid to shop”

Fereshteh Khosroujerdy: “People forget that I am human”

A BLIND woman facing ‘exorbitant’ costs for her care has said she is afraid to go shopping, amid warnings that spiraling care costs are worsening the bill crisis for the most vulnerable.

Fereshteh Khosroujerdy, a blind woman living in sheltered accommodation in Archway, has long struggled to make ends meet. Over the past decade, she has seen her childcare costs increase by around 130%, although she now receives fewer hours.

This week, she told the Tribune that spiraling costs had left her “very scared to actually spend the money”. Every time I go shopping, when I use my card, I am very scared. I think: what if there is not enough money? What should I do?”

Ms Khosroujerdy is currently paying £116.54 a week on her disability benefit – around a third of her total income – for 14.5 hours of care. This service is provided by JC Michael Groups, a care company based in Hackney.

Ms Khosroujerdy said she found the service was unable to provide personalized support for her blindness, which involved reading her paper mail and making sure to leave items in the same place around her flat.

These care costs are compounded by additional expenses related to his sight loss. “Imagine, every year I have to pay £300 to update my screen reader software,” she said.

“I had to pay £300 to fix my braille machine, I’m paying £50 to fix my two [specialist] watches.

Ms Khosroujerdy has contacted Islington Council on several occasions asking for help, but has so far received no response.

“People forget I’m human,” she said. “I’m not a ball – this isn’t a football game where you pass me one [service] to another. They pass me to social services who pass me to the sensory team who pass me to occupational therapy who pass me to housing.

She said the council continued to contact her by paper mail – which she cannot read – and some council staff dealing directly with her case were still unaware that she was blind.

WinVisible, a charity which defends Ms Khosroujerdy’s interests, described her healthcare costs as “exorbitant”. The charity, which represents women with visible and invisible disabilities, is campaigning for Islington and Camden to scrap their childcare fees altogether.

Claire Glasman, founding member of WinVisible, said among the women she works with, it’s typical to see childcare costs go up by 130%, if not more.

“We have always been against childcare fees – we believe daily living support should be free, as with the NHS,” Ms Glasman said.

A spokesperson for the council said: ‘When a resident reports an issue with the quality of care they receive or makes requests for reasonable adjustments, the council works with them to resolve that issue.

“We are very sorry to learn of the issues Ms. Khosroujerdy has encountered and the distress this is causing her. We have been in active contact with Ms. Khosroujerdy and are absolutely committed to working with her to resolve these issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. .

A spokesperson for JC Michael Groups said: ‘We are contracted by Adult Social Services for the London Borough of Islington to provide the service as set out in the support plan.

“We send caregivers to help FK with cooking, cleaning and other household chores, as well as to help with shopping once a week. We have provided well-trained and knowledgeable caregivers to provide personalized support to CF to meet his care needs.

They added: “We can also specify that our carers read his letters and his paper mail at his request. She has a specific caregiver preference that we had discussed with her and we always provided the best possible service based on the needs highlighted in her support plan. »

About Antoine L. Cassell

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