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Estrena's story

26 June 2015

Isolated, cold and struggling with multiple life-limiting conditions, Estrena, aged 96, was referred to Age UK Sheffield by her GP.

Originally from Jamaica, she has lived in Sheffield for most of her life. She sometimes struggles to manage the impact of her health conditions including lupus, arthritis, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

Estrena was referred by her GP when there was snow. Her heating was broken and her flat was very cold. She also couldn’t afford to pay an unusually high utility bill.

Although not very steady, she was reluctant to wear her pendant alarm.

She also had a letter from her GP she was struggling to understand.

Estrena’s niece used to help with shopping, correspondence and medical appointments, but her ability to do this had declined along with her own health, meaning Estrena was hardly going out and rarely saw anyone else.

Following her referral, Age UK Sheffield’s Independent Living Coordinator (ILC) listened carefully to Estrena and set about problem-solving with her.

The ILC gave Estrena a ‘winter pack’ including a blanket, hand warmer, hot water bottle, and thermal clothing to help keep her warm while she waited for the Housing Association to fix her heating.

Over the next few weeks, the ILC also helped Estrena to supply actual meter readings, which reduced her bill by £300, as well as compare fuel tariffs and switch supplier.

The ILC helped her understand her GP’s Care Plan letter; source a wristband alarm that was more comfortable to wear than the pendent, and make a new friend who she now regularly meets for coffee.

Estrena now gets out and about by using community transport, and has also re-registered herself with the continence service.

Meanwhile, her GP referred Estrena to the Falls Prevention Team, helping to increase her confidence.