'I'm struggling to cope' - Sheffield woman pleads with council to increase care help for ill grandmother

Laura Bennett spends over 85 hours a week caring for her ill grandmother who needs 24/7 assistance. Picture: Christ Etchells/The Star
Laura Bennett spends over 85 hours a week caring for her ill grandmother who needs 24/7 assistance. Picture: Christ Etchells/The Star
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A Sheffield woman has pleaded with the council for more help caring for her severely ill grandmother who needs 24/7 assistance.

Laura Bennett, aged 28, from Hillsborough, clocks up over 85 hours a week - many through the night - to care for 82-year-old Winifred who has dementia and other complex health needs.

Winifred, a carer for Sheffield Council herself, appeared in The Star for her tireless work

Winifred, a carer for Sheffield Council herself, appeared in The Star for her tireless work

She has claimed the local authority is 'exploiting her' and is 'treating her like a slave'.

The 28-year-old said she has been knocked back on multiple occasions in her bid to get extra help and feels the council is 'ignoring her'.

Laura, who lost her mother to cancer back in May, added she 'hasn't had time to grieve properly' and is struggling to cope. She claimed the council refused to provide extra help around the time of her funeral.

She told The Star: "I'm saving the council so much money by working for free. I've been doing this for years and they can't help me.

Laura said her grandmother is a 'special lady' and helped raise the 28-year-old

Laura said her grandmother is a 'special lady' and helped raise the 28-year-old

"I haven't got time for a relationship, I haven't got time for a friend. I love my nan to pieces - she's a great woman, a special lady but I'm struggling to cope."

Winifred, who used to be a carer herself for Sheffield Council for 37 years and once appeared in The Star for her tireless work, has eight different carers during the week including Laura.

"I don't think asking for 100 hours from the council minimum a week is too much - I don't know where to turn. It's really ironic Nan used to be a carer herself."

The 28-year-old said she is reluctant to send Winifred to a care home for respite after the 82-year-old was admitted to hospital following short stint away from her.

Coun Cate McDonald, cabinet member for health and social care on Sheffield Council, said: “We regret that Ms Bennett is not happy with the support that has been offered for her grandmother. We listened to her concerns and involved a team manager and service manager to resolve the issues raised. We also put a new support plan in place with extra funding and arranged for Ms Bennett to have a carer’s assessment to make sure her needs are being met.

“We have agreed an increased direct payment that pays for 82.5 hours of support at home each week and have worked closely with Ms Bennett, Winifred and her son to make sure they’re able to use these hours flexibly in the way that best suits them.

“This level of funding is significantly more than what it would cost the council to support Ms Bennett in a care home, and shows our commitment to helping her stay in her own home where she would prefer to be. However, there are obviously limits to the amount of support we can give individuals when the overall pressure on adult social care is so great. We have taken action in response to the concerns that have been raised and are doing everything we can.”