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How we made a difference to Mrs J

Ms M contacted Age Cymru Advice on behalf of her mother, Mrs J. Ms M was concerned about her mother who has been struggling with her care needs and finances for some time. Our adviser asked Ms M to gather together financial records and arranged to call her back at a time when her mother would be present.

Mrs J has severe arthritis in her hands and knees and as a result struggles to prepare and eat food as she’s unable to grip things tightly and she’s burnt herself on several occasions as a result. Ms M also advised that her mother has taken to living downstairs as she’s unable to manage the stairs.  

Mrs. J has lived alone for some time and has always been independent but after suffering a stroke at the start of the year has found caring for herself has become a struggle. Ms M stated that her mother is struggling with her care needs, finances and as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown has become increasingly isolated and lonely. Both Ms M and Mrs J said they felt worried and anxious about the situation and uncertain what support may be available and where to start.

How we helped

After building up a rapport, exploring the situation fully and reassuring Ms M and Mrs J that we could help, Age Cymru Advice set about ascertaining what was causing them the most concern and worked through each issue methodically, taking care to check their understanding and maintaining a person-centered approach throughout. Mrs J advised that she’d like to have the house adapted and equipment fitted to meet her increased needs allowing her to live independently but was uncertain who to contact. Our adviser gave Mrs J and Ms M the contact details of their local social services department for an occupational therapy assessment and explained that someone would assess the property and arrange for adaptions and equipment to be fitted.

Mrs J lives in a private, rented property and therefore was also advised of a local charitable organisation called Care and Repair who would also be able to help with adapting the property.  

Ms M and Mrs J were informed of organisations such as the Disabled Living Foundation who’re able to offer independent advice on daily living equipment.  

We also sent all relevant Age Cymru factsheets and information guides covering all subjects so they would be sure they had all the relevant information they needed, so they wouldn’t have to worry about remembering all the information they were given over the phone.

We also carried out a full benefit check. Our adviser informed Mrs J that she may be entitled to Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit Guaranteed Credit. Mrs J was informed of her likely benefit entitlement, who to contact to make the claim and local support services who could  assist with completing the paperwork. In addition, Mrs J was informed of potential savings she could make, including possible reduced water tariff and other energy saving costs. Contact details and supporting information was provided for each area covered.

We asked Mrs J’s about her feelings of loneliness and isolation, which had been triggered by the lockdown. Until recently Mrs J had enjoyed an active lifestyle and attended many social gatherings. All Mrs J’s usual clubs and centres were closed and she hadn’t socialised with friends for a number of months. Our adviser  provided information and contact details of local voluntary organisations and social clubs and we also discussed the benefits of telephone befriending services including our Friend in Need service. Mrs J and Ms M were happy and relieved to find out that there are befriending services available and said they would look into the options provided and would make contact in their own time. 

Follow up conversation

In a follow up discussion, Ms M said that following advice from Age Cymru Advice she made a claim for both Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit Guaranteed Credit. In turn this has meant that Mrs J is eligible for Council Tax reductions and Housing Benefit. Ms M stated that they’ve also been able to access a preferential water tariff and save more than £400 a year on her water bill.

As a result of the advice provided by Age Cymru Advice, Mrs J has seen a drastic increase in her income as well as a reduction in her outgoings. This has freed up finances to allow Mrs J to look into care packages and source equipment to assist with independent living. Ms M and Mrs J are currently in the process of having both a care needs and carers assessment. They have also contacted both Care & Repair and the local authority Occupational Therapy department regarding having the property assessed for adaptations and equipment fitted.

Ms M said that the positive outcomes they have experienced as a direct result of contacting Age Cymru Advice had completely turned their worry and anxiety into a positive situation and they were extremely relieved and grateful.

Ms M contacted Age Cymru Advice to offer her thanks for their support and assistance.

"I followed up on your advice and I've been able to save my mother £400 off her water bill. We're also currently making a claim for both Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance. We've contacted the Local Authority Social Services Team for a care needs assessment and asked for the property to be assessed by the Occupational Therapist.  We can’t thank you enough. It’s taken a lot of our anxiety away."

* We've changed the name and removed some personal details of the enquiry to protect the identity of Mrs J.

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