Care Questions : Article 31Care Questions : Article 31

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.31

"I am an old age pensioner and live on my own with no near relatives. I own my own bungalow and from time to time I have to consider some maintenance work. However, I do not know who to ask for advice, so unless it is something that is causing me a problem at the time, I tend to ignore it. I have, however, come to a point where I will have to think about having some major repairs done and I write to ask if you know of any organisation that can give me some sound advice and help?"

Answer : If you own your own home (or if you rent your home but are responsible for repairs) and need advice and information about repairs and maintenance your local Care and Repair or Staying Put agency may be able to help you.

These services can give advice and assistance about finding the money to pay for the work, help to find a reliable builder, supervising the work or give other practical help to enable you to stay in your own home. In some areas of the country they are able to assist with an "odd job" or "handyperson" service.

To find out if there is a Care and Repair or a Staying Put agency in your area, call 01457 891909 which is the telephone number of the Foundation organisation. Foundations is the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister appointed National Co-ordinating Body for Home Improvement Agencies in England.. Home improvement agencies such as Care and Repair and Staying Put are not for profit organisations that assist vulnerable homeowners or private sector tenants who are older, disabled or on low incomes to repair, improve, maintain or adapt their home.

"I am a pensioner and my bungalow does not have central heating. I have been told that now I will be able to have it installed free. Do you know anything about this?"

Answer : In the Government's Pre-Budget Report it was announced that there would be free installation of central heating in the homes of Britain's poorest pensioners.

To qualify you must be in receipt of means- tested Pensions Credit. If you do not receive the Pensions Credit and do not have central heating, then you will be eligible for a £300.00 contribution to the cost of any central heating installation that you put in.

For pensioners on Pensions Credit there will also be the offer of free home insulation from the country's energy companies. If you do not receive Pensions Credit then you can claim between £125 - £175.00 towards the cost of any insulation you put in.

Currently the above measures only cover England. To find out more details contact The Warm Front Scheme on 0800 9520600

"I am in my eighties and still fit and well apart from the embarrassing problem of often needing the toilet when I am out. In my local town this is not a problem as I know where the toilets are, but in other places less well known to me, I am in a constant state of worry until I can find out where the toilets are located.

A friend has told me that she thinks there is a card, which I can get which will allow me to use toilets which are not normally available to the public, such as in a small shop, (which has the facilities for their staff only). Do you know anything about this?"

Answer : The Continence Foundation can supply you with a card, credit card size, for you to carry which carries the following request: "Urgent, the holder of this card has a medical condition and needs to use a toilet quickly. Please can you help?"

The idea is that should you need to use a toilet urgently, then showing this to people working in shops or elsewhere, will enable you to use their toilet facilities.

To get an "Urgent" card, send a stamped, addressed envelope to The Continence Foundation, "Urgent Card", 307 Hatton Square, 16 Baldwin Gardens, London. EC1N 7RJ.

There is no charge for this card but donations are always gratefully received as The Foundation is a registered charity.

"I am concerned about my Father's ability to drive as he seems quite forgetful at times. He says he is perfectly fit to drive but to please me will go somewhere to prove it, if I can arrange it for him. What can I arrange to give me peace of mind?"

Answer : The Mobility Advice and Information Service (MAVIS) provides an information and assessment service to older motorists who can have a disability, including dementia. They can arrange a driving assessment service, suggest adaptations that may help and give advice and guidance on a persons ability to drive safely. Give them a call on 01344 661 000 and they will be able to help you.