Care Questions : Article 24Care Questions : Article 24

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.24

"My sisters and I are taking our Mother to Germany for a holiday this year. Mum is disabled and when we take her out in the UK we use her Blue Badge to park in disabled spaces, etc. Is there something similar, we can apply for to use in Germany on a temporary basis?"

Answer : The Blue Badge Scheme entitles you to concessionary parking in towns and cities, allowing you to use disabled parking schemes across Europe. Therefore, just make sure you take it with you.

"I am in my early fifties and I am thinking about giving up work to care for my elderly Mother. I have been told that I will qualify for the Carer's Allowance but I am quite concerned that I will not be making my National Insurance contributions towards my state pension. Is it possible for me to pay my contributions even though I will have given up work?"

Answer : If you give up work to care for someone and you have an entitlement and receive the Carer's Allowance then your National Insurance contributions will be automatically credited on your behalf.

"I am eighty years old and gardening has been my lifetime hobby. I am still able to work in my garden but not as much as I used to or as quickly as I could, but I still enjoy it. Do you know of any social organisation that I could join to meet similar "older gardeners" for mutual support and interest?"

Answer : I do not know of one in your locality but there is a Gardening for the Disabled Trust which is a membership organisation formed to offer advice, information and financial help to disabled gardeners living in their own homes. They encourage the exchange of gardening experiences, tips, seeds and plants and publish a newsletter three times a year. They may be able to put you in touch with local members for a more personal exchange. The annual fee is £4.00 per year. For further details contact Mrs Tuke, Appleton Farm, Oast, Frittenden, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2EG.

"I bought a product, which was advertised as a useful gadget for older people. When it arrived it was of little use to me. I phoned the company and complained and they advised me to write in with my complaint. To date I have heard nothing and that was several weeks ago. When I telephone, I am told it is being dealt with. Is there anything else I can do?"

Answer : Trading Standards and Consumer Protection information states that complaints to a company should have a response within ten working days of the company receiving your complaint. This has not happened in your situation so contact the local Trading Standards office in your area and have all your details and information to hand.

"My solicitor of many years has now retired and for personal reasons I wish to find a new firm to represent me. I am in my early eighties and wonder if there are solicitors whose main areas of representation is with older clients and their requirements?"

Answer : There is a national association of solicitors who are committed to providing comprehensive and legal advice for older people. Members have the knowledge that allows them to empathise with problems that may occur as part of the ageing process and all members must have spent a substantial amount of time working for elderly clients and have to fulfil a criteria for membership.

Member solicitors can help older people with estate planning, powers of attorney, tax planning, living wills, provision of home care, preserving assets in the event of long term residential or nursing care, welfare benefits and equity release plans to name just some of the wide range of legal issues they can assist with.

To find a member of Solicitors for the Elderly in your locality contact the Association in one of the following ways:

Office hours are 9.00am-1.00pm Monday to Friday.

"Do you know where I can buy an old fashioned, wooden, three sided, clotheshorse from?"

Answer : A company trading as Days Gone By advertises the type of clotheshorse you describe. They are available by mail order from Days Gone By, Lynton, 157 Carisbroke Rd, Newport, Isle of Wight. Telephone 01983 822806