Neglected woman, 81, 'was in agony'
Published on 07 February 2013 11:30 AM
An 81-year-old woman left in her home for more than a week without care, would have lived out her final days in agony, according to one of her friends.
Gloria Foster was left alone for nine days and was found starving and dehydrated by a nurse who went to her home in Surrey on a routine visit. She died in hospital on Monday and police officers are now looking into the circumstances surrounding her death.
Private company Carefirst24 was providing Mrs Foster with home help, but the local county council took over responsibility following a UK Border Agency raid on the firm.
Ann Penston, who had power of attorney over Mrs Foster, has vowed to get answers in relation to the tragedy as she said her friend, who lived in Banstead in Surrey, 'deserves someone to answer for her'.
Ms Penston said in an interview with the BBC: 'From the information I have found out, the police and the UK Border Agency passed all the information on to Surrey County Council and Sutton Council.
'I've also been told that Sutton Council are in the clear, so one must assume that somebody has picked up a bundle of papers and missed the vital information. My name and number must have been somewhere.'
Ms Penston added: 'None of us expect to go out of this world singing and dancing, but nor do you expect to be left in what I suspect was agony. In the early days she must have been aware that there was nobody coming.'
In relation to the campaign for answers, she said: 'I'm staying strong and focused because she deserves somebody to answer for her going this way. That's what I'm trying to focus on.'
'Older people should have the peace of mind they will be cared for in their time of need'
A spokesman for the police said: 'Concerns surrounding Gloria's care were raised to Surrey Police at the end of January by staff at the hospital where she died on Monday, February 4, and officers are now looking into the circumstances surrounding her death.'
Commenting on this heart-breaking story, Michelle Mitchell Charity Director General at Age UK said, 'Time and again we hear heart-breaking and shocking stories of older people who are being let down by the care system. Older people who struggle daily with chronic ill health, frailty and disability should have the peace of mind that they will be well cared for in times of need.'
'The care of the most vulnerable in our society is one of the most important issues facing the country. It is too important to cast aside and be labelled as 'too costly or difficult' and corners cannot continue to be cut. We need the Government to show leadership and make the difficult but vital decisions to reform our broken care system and lift the fear out of later life.'
Copyright Press Association 2013