Care Questions : Article 19Care Questions : Article 19

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.19

"My family want to take me with them to the USA in the Summer and I have to get a passport as I have never had one. A friend tells me that as I am 78 years of age, I will not have to pay for it. Is this true?"

Answer : Yes, every British Citizen born on or before 2nd September 1929 is entitled to receive a free passport. This was announced by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, in recognition of the sacrifices made by World War Two veterans and civilians. There are 4.5 million British Citizens who can claim a free passport for life.

"My Mother is aged 85 and very independent. One of her pleasures in life is her bath and she likes the water hot. I am aware that you can buy thermometers that are waterproof but her eyesight is not too good and I do not think she would be able to read the temperature levels. Are you aware of any other products that might help?"

Answer : Babies, young children and older people have more sensitive skin and have to be very careful that they do not accidentally scald themselves. Whereas scalding can occur above a temperature of 45 C, for elderly people, scalding can occur at a lower temperature. There is a general consensus that the bath temperature for babies, young children and elderly people should be no more than 43C.

For a person with poor sight, the safest way to test the bath water is to have a thermometer that is waterproof and quite simply, tells you the temperature of the water.

The Royal National Institute for the Blind have a Scientific Talking Thermometer that is water proof and actually "speaks" the temperature when lowered into a liquid. It is priced at £99.99 which is expensive but when considered in relation to being scald, is worth the investment. ROSPA, (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) advises that there are around 21 deaths a year associated with bath scalds and none from sinks and washbasins.

"I am carer to my elderly Father who lives with me. I have been told that when I am assessed as being a Carer, it now has to take into account any learning or educational opportunities I would like to participate in. I have always wanted to learn to sew possibly to tailoring standards, does this sort of "learning" count?"

Answer : The Government wishes to enable Carers to take advantage of opportunities that are available to other people take. This includes interests outside caring such as you describe. However, deciding which learning skills you wish to attain has to be combined with several other factors. Availability of a specific course in your area, how it can be paid for, how can your Father be cared for whilst you are learning need to be considered as part of the process.

Begin by looking for a course that interests you, your local library may have details. Then contact your local branch of Carers UK. They will try to help you achieve your objective by giving you further information and assistance. If you are not aware of your local branch call Carers UK head office on 0808 808 7777 for the information.

"I live in a rural area and there has been a spate of burglaries which concern me. I do not have a lot of valuable things in my home but they are of great sentimental value and I would not like to lose them. Is there anyway in which I can put my "identity" on them so if they do get stolen I stand a possible chance of getting them back?"

Answer : Quite simply put your name on the items by "property marking." There are two main methods, permanent marking (when you engrave or punch the details of your street number and postcode) and invisible marking. The first method is applicable for items such as bicycles, mowers and other general inexpensive items. For other items invisible marking may be best.

You can purchase kits for either method from DIY stores or your local police station may have a scheme that lets you borrow a marker. They will also give you further advice. You can also receive a sticker to place on your window or door stating that you have marked your property and this may serve as a deterrent to a potential thief.

"I believe I might be eligible for some funding from a charity but I do not know how to contact them. Have you any suggestions?"

Answer : Charity Search based in Bristol should be able to help you locate the charity you are seeking. They can be contacted by telephoning 0117 982 4060.