Lily, 88, worked for almost 50 years as a factory worker in West Auckland, County Durham, and raised 5 children on her own after her husband died quite young. She has 12 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Although Lily had received home improvements to meet her care needs, meeting rising living costs was becoming a daily battle and often meant she was going without food and heating.
‘I used to worry because I didn’t have any money. It felt like £30 had to last me forever. I was going to bed at seven o’clock to keep warm because I couldn’t turn the heating on. I don’t have to do that now – I can stay up until 10 o’clock watching telly and reading.
‘Since Age UK Durham helped me claim Attendance Allowance I don’t have to worry. Once this money started, I thought about what I have been missing, all these years I could have been having help but I didn’t know. My family didn’t know anything about it or I wouldn’t have had to go to them and ask them for money. They’re only working class, they struggle to help me.
‘When you think of how you struggled – I couldn’t buy a ball of wool. Now it’s no hardship. I’m having a meat dinner tomorrow. I couldn’t do that before. It would be a dinner without meat.
When the bad weather comes I want a new coat and new shoes – I know I have money now to do that. It has altered my life.’
Age UK wants to see a world where no older person is trapped in the day-to-date grind of living in poverty. Support our End Pensioner Poverty campaign.