British World War Two veteran in fight for old age care

96 year old Robbie Clark of Burnt Oak in North London is fighting a battle with his local council to ensure he can remain in his home and receive old age care there, rather than be moved into a nursing home.

Robbie is a World War Two veteran and is one of the UK’s oldest surviving veterans who was also a prisoner of war.

So far, Robbie has used up his £50,000 of his own savings to pay for a carer to come to his home. Now that he is close to running out of money, the local council has informed him that he will need to move into a local nursing home, since they are refusing to pay for the costs of 24-hour nursing care at his home.

As a prisoner of war under the Nazis, Robbie was made to march 1000 miles west across Europe along with thousands of other prisoners of war in severe winter conditions. Many did not survive. The Nazis forced more than 80,000 prisoners of war to march across Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Germany over four months from January to April in 1945.

The marches were the Nazis’ effort to delay the release of prisoners of war. Hundreds of thousands of German civilians also joined them westwards as the Soviets advanced from the east.

Now the veteran, who was one of the British soldiers who survived Hitler’s 1,000-mile death march across Europe in 1945, only has enough money to last another three months.

Robbie is attached to his home since he has lived there all of his life, and his family believe that leaving it would kill him. Robbie has two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Robbie needs 24-hour care since he lost the use of his legs after a heart operation three years ago.

The council has asked the family to provide evidence to support the claim that Robbie’s life would be shortened if he were to move into a care home. Robbie believes that living in a nursing home would take his freedom and bring back painful memories of being a prisoner of war.

The cost of 24-hour care at home is around £1000 per week, while if Robbie moved to a care home the cost would be around £450 per week. The family is considering getting a loan or mortgaging their house so that they can continue to afford to pay for Robbie to stay at home, the Express reports.

As a gesture of goodwill, the council has offered to pay the cost of nursing home care directly to Robbie so that he can use it to spend on 24-hour care at home should he wish to. However, the council is also concerned that if they make an exception for Robbie, they would have to do the same for all of their old aged pensioners in similar situations and there is simply not the funding to support that.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE