THE children of a 96-year-old dementia sufferer have reached “breaking point” as they struggle to provide their father with the care he needs, saying the social care system is failing him.

Amanda Harrington, and her siblings Stephen Harrington-Ellsmore and Jennifer Leighton have spoken of their “heartbreak” at being unable to get the quality of care they want to support their father and how they are fighting a decision by Hampshire County Council which believes he is still fit to live on his own.

Amanda, 57, and Stephen and Jennifer who are also both in ill health, have been appealing outcomes of capacity assessments made by adult social services on their father, who they wish not to be named, who was diagnosed with dementia, and paranoia, two-and-a-half-years ago.

Last year, the 96-year-old, who lives in an Aster property in Andover, was also diagnosed as having a five-minute memory.

Amanda, who is her father’s principal carer, said: “They don’t see that he can’t cook meals properly, that he calls 30 times a day. They don’t see I get called out several times in the night.

“Sometimes he says he thinks he should go in a home and other times he says he is fine. He doesn’t know what is best for him.

“I have got 50 voicemails from my father crying down the phone, I can’t bear to listen to them.

“We aren’t coping. I’m on the verge of a breakdown and losing my job.”

Since November, the family has been pushing for reviews over the council’s viewpoint, which it has made on four occasions.

In an hour’s talk with assessors, their father is able to communicate daily tasks he should do and how to do them, however Amanda says that his cognitive ability “goes out of the window” when he attempts to do those things.

Their father receives two 45-minute and one 30-minute visit a day from government-funded care agency Nurseplus, while his number of calls to emergency services and Lifeline, the personal alarm system, are “too numerous to log”.

Amanda, of River Way, says due to his dementia, he becomes aggressive towards his family members and his carers, and barricades himself in his home at night due to his paranoia.

On Wednesday, the family attended a meeting with representatives from the police, Nurseplus, his GP, mental health team and adult social services.

In a “very stressful and emotional” encounter, the warehouse supervisor said things have moved forward with more assessments agreed, along with talks of a 24-hour carer and, in the short-term, a fourth Nurseplus visit a day ahead of meeting again in six weeks.

Amanda said: “It’s looking better but there’s no guaranteeing anything is actually coming out of it.

“We’ve had to fight to get this far. Think about people on their own and they don’t have families to fight for them.

“And we are just one family, how many families have to fight to get some care?”

County council executive member for adult social care and health Councillor Liz Fairhurst has responded to the family’s circumstances, and said the council has a duty to ensure all its residents receiving care are helped to live as “independently as possible with safe and appropriate support.”

Cllr Fairhurst said: “I am sorry to hear of the difficulties being experienced by this family.

“A person who is able to make and communicate a decision has the right to choose to remain at home, if that is their preference. Where an individual declines a particular service that is recommended, the county council will respect that choice, unless the person has been assessed as lacking mental capacity in relation to that specific decision.

“Care and support assessments take into account the views of carers, friends or relatives, and health professionals working with the individual, such as GPs or community nurses, to help determine the best care solution.

“A person’s ability to live independently may vary from day-to-day. In such situations, we will review the support provided to ensure the individual’s changing needs continue to be met.”