In 24 hours’ time, Edith will no longer be able to get out of bed. The 30-year-old has multiple sclerosis, and relies on council-funded care assistants to help her live in her two-bed adapted flat in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
For 18 months, she has managed with only a couple of visits a day: one at 7am, to enable her to get up for work as a chartered accountant, and another at 8.30pm to help her get out of her wheelchair and back into bed. After years of saving hard for her first home and moving out of her parents’, it was meant to be the start of Edith’s life. But in February her care agency struck a blow: owing to staff shortages in her area, they would be ceasing their contract, and giving social services 90 days’ notice. Three months later, with barely a day until her carers leave, the council hasn’t found her a replacement.
Edith is terrified. “Carers helping me out of bed every morning are the fundamental life support which everything else in my life depends on,” she says. “And now it feels like the rug is being pulled out from beneath me.”