Care Questions : Article 54Care Questions : Article 54

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.54

"My Mother lives some distance from me and is in failing health. The family have decided that a move to a residential home in the area I live would be the best option. I am happy to go and visit homes in my area but I would welcome some advice as to the sort of questions I should ask."

Answer : All residential homes are inspected by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) so one of the first things you could do would be to take any one or two homes that you feel may be suitable and go to the CSCI website and read their latest inspection reports. These reports will give you a good idea of the homes themselves and their operation.

However this is no substitute for going along and seeing the home for yourself. Questions you need to ask include asking about fees, how much, what do they include, what is the notice period, etc. You need to consider how you are going to get there to visit, what is the accommodation like, what impression do you get of the staff, what is the choice for meals, can you have a trial period, etc. There are many more questions you can ask and if you contact your local Age Concern they will be able to give you a fact sheet with questions that cover the comprehensive area of moving into residential care.

"Each year I intend to send the stamps off my Christmas cards to charity but I never do. The reason is because I have never found out where I should send them before they arrive and after Christmas they hang around and then I bin them.Can you advise me of any charities that accept stamps?"

Answer : Charity Stamps Direct is a company which distributes used stamps to a number of charities which then raise funding from them. The charities that they work with include The Barn Owl Trust, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Marie Curie Cancer Care, the Nurses Christian Fellowship and The Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust, to name but some. For further information call 0131 552 1220, or 0131 478 7021 or take a look at their website.

"My husband and son are disabled and for many years I have bought them aids and equipment as and when they needed it and if I could not obtain such items from Social Services. I have mainly bought them from catalogues and the internet in the last couple of years. A person whom I have recently come into contact with has told me that in many cases I should not have paid VAT on the items I have bought. Is this the case and how can I find out what is VAT rated and what is not?"

Answer : One place to look for a definitive answer is to go to HM Revenue and Customs website. This can be found at and the section “VAT reliefs for disabled people” (although a lengthy document) will give you all the information you need.

"I believe it is possible to play Scrabble by post. Do you know where I can find further information?"

Answer : There is a postal Scrabble Club that can be contacted by either writing to Robert Pells (Secretary), 34 Kent Rd., Bingley, West Yorkshire, BSD16 4PF or you can email him at or visit the website at

"I know old glasses can be recycled for the benefit of other people but is it possible to recycle hearing aids?"

Answer : If a hearing aid is non digital and in working order it can be cleaned and recycled by Help the Aged. The hearing aids are then sent to developing nations e.g. India.

Pack the hearing aid carefully and post in a jiffy bag to: Help the Aged (Hearing Aid Appeal) FREEPOST LON13616, London, EC1B 1PS.

Able Community Care provides long term, live-in care services. If you have a question that you would like us to try and answer or you are seeking information about care and finding some difficulty, click here to send us a message.

Finally, we send all our readers our “Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year.”