"Our local shop has closed down and I can only get into town by bus. This takes about an hour. If I shop for food for the week it is too heavy for me to carry from shop to shop and taxi fares are expensive. I am considering applying for Meals on Wheels but I understand that is only for a main meal of the day. Are there other options?"
Answer : There are independent businesses that deliver ready made meals and if you look in Yellow Pages you should be able to contact them. However, there is one company I know of that is a little different. It delivers, in a freezer pack, main meals, desserts and snacks together. The pack is meant to cover a seven day period and the menu for one of their packs includes a roast beef dinner, sausages and mash, shepherds pie and a fish pie, plus three other main meals. Also included in the pack is ham, there are rolls, sandwich fillers and a jacket potato. Desserts include spotted dick and a raspberry trifle.
The company is a franchise company, Home Farm Food Services and the above is only a small example of what they can supply. For a brochure and details of your nearest depot call them on 0800 7838753.
Answer : The attendance Allowance is given to people who require help with personal care because of a mental or physical disability. Personal care includes the sort of help you are giving to your neighbour.
You have to have needed the help for a six month period before the Allowance is given, so your neighbour needs to register, or you can do it on her behalf, as soon as possible. Call the Benefits Enquiry Line on 0800 882200 to obtain an application form. As your neighbour only requires help during the day, the Lower Rate of £41.65 is the amount she may receive per week.
Answer : If the town near to your Mother has a Shopmobility Scheme, then one solution is to take a taxi to the premises where she can borrow a manual wheelchair, a powered wheelchair or possibly even a pavement scooter to enable her to shop. Sometimes an escort can be provided for people who feel safer with someone accompanying them, but this does vary from Scheme to Scheme and would always require booking in advance. Each Scheme is different with regard to opening hours, whether it is free, the equipment they have, etc. Her local telephone directory will give you the location of the nearest Scheme to her.
Another idea is that most department stores and supermarkets have wheelchairs and some also provide attendants who will help impaired shoppers to use their stores. A call to any particular store will give further details and ways to book either the wheelchair or an attendant and wheelchair to coincide with the person arriving at the store.
Answer : Buying a second hand wheelchair is a little like buying a second hand car. You can assess the vehicle by yourself and make a decision or you can call in a motoring association to inspect your proposed purchase and advise you accordingly.
One of the ways to safely buy a second hand wheelchair is to go to a British Healthcare Trades Association member (BHTA) who will reduce the dangers that could possibly be associated with any purchase. For example they will check that the vehicle is safe and road worthy, will help you assess the suitability for you as an individual, offer the services of training and backup such as you would receive if you bought a new one and they will charge you a fair price. To find out the specialists in your area call 020 7702 2141 and also ask for their leaflet "Get wise to buying a mobility vehicle.