Care Questions : Article 9Care Questions : Article 9

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.9

"I have just retired and moved into the area. I have no interest in politics, so do I have to apply to go on to the electoral role?"

Answer : The answer is yes. However there are two versions of the electoral role, the full register and the unedited register. It is a legal requirement that everyone who is eligible to vote is on the full register. However, the details of the full register are only accessible to the Council, the Police and for credit reference purposes. The unedited register is available for any person who wishes to see it, you can buy it and many people take the opportunity not to have their details in this register.

Their reasons for doing so are that they do not wish to be traced, do not want junk mail sent to them etc. I contacted my local Council and they told me that 25% of people in their area had stated that they did not wish to have their details recorded in the unedited register.

"I am not a religious person and I would like to know if it is possible to have a non-religious service when I die?"

Answer : Funerals can be held without any ceremony (religious or otherwise). You can have what is called a Humanist Ceremony which is intended to provide a dignified and respectful celebration of the death that has occurred. An official will perform the funeral service as required by you. For example you can have tributes, reading of poems, music of choice, etc. The British Humanist Association produce a booklet "Funerals without God: a Practical Guide to Non-religious Funerals. It costs £5.00 and can be obtained by telephoning the Association on 020 7079 3580

If you do not wish to have any kind of ceremony you can just have a committal with family and close friends. This can be held in silence or with music of your choice being played.

"Is there a pensioners union?"

Answer : The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) is the voice of the pensioners movement and is widely recognised as the umbrella body for pensioners groups in the UK. The NPC campaigns, makes submissions to government on policies affecting older people, organises rallies and has a three day conference annually.

It also produces regular newsletters and pamphlets and through its local connections can help regional campaigns. The NPC can also help organise holidays through its association with a specialist, non-profit making travel company.

Membership costs £5.00. Telephone 0207 553 6510 for details or visit:

"My friend is registered as blind, are there any benefits other than Social Security benefits she can apply for?"

Answer : Yes, there are other benefits your friend is entitled to, for example:

For further information about all issues connected with blind or partially sighted people telephone the RNIB Welfare team on 0845 766 9999.

"I have a social, friendly, non-boisterous dog and it has been suggested to me that he might be good for 'Pets as Therapy'. Do you have any information about this charity?"

Answer : PATS is a charity which began in 1983. It was started because the charity recognised that pet owners could not take their pets into long stay hospitals or residential homes. For animal lovers to totally lose contact with their pets causes additional distress at a time when people may be feeling vulnerable and unhappy. Several volunteers at that time decided to try visiting such people with clean, well behaved dogs and this had a beneficial effect on the people who were visited. Twenty years on there are approximately 5000 active PAT hospital visiting dogs and cats at work in the UK every week.

An elderly person stroking a dog, talking to a cat encourages use of limbs, communication and provides a general feeling of relaxation and happiness.

All animals need to be fully vaccinated and wormed and have to undergo temperament assessment by trained testers (there are over 350 testers in the UK).

This is a charity which has to fundraise to facilitate its services and pet owners who wish to volunteer are charged a one off £7.00 registration fee per pet. As a volunteer you can decide your level of involvement. Your pet will have an identity tag on its collar and many PAT animals wear distinctive yellow coats.

For further details about PATS in your area call 01207 236040.