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Do you have a general enquiry?

I am interested in volunteering

Thanks for your interest! You can read more about volunteering, including about our volunteering roles and our online application form to become a volunteer, and other ways to support us, on our volunteering page.

I would like to make a donation

Thank you very much for your support and generosity – most of our services are free, but donations are really appreciated and help us to continue to deliver support to local older people - please visit our donations page to find out more.

I am interested in Age UK national products / insurance

Age UK National manage Age UK products rather than local partners - if you would like to purchase Age UK products /insurance or are an existing Age UK customer, please contact the Age UK products helpdesk. 

For personal alarms and stairlifts, we also have a dedicated impartial information sheet with a list of suppliers and things to consider, including Age UK options - see our Traders and Services page. 

I would like to know about different services available in Wiltshire and Swindon

There is information about different local and national services and schemes for older people on our website Traders and Services page. For Age UK Wiltshire services, see Our Services page

I am looking for a local trader e.g. gardener, cleaner, handyperson, nailcutting

Different Age UK’s provide different services and Age UK Wiltshire do not provide a traders list and are not able to recommend companies or individuals. We have suggestions and links relating to this on our Traders and Services page, including nailcutting, gardening, shopping, hairdressers and more.

We have a short AUKW Guide to choosing a trader, which suggests questions to ask and things to consider, to help you make informed choices when choosing trades and services. 

Finding a trustworthy cleaner or domestic help service can be difficult – whilst we can’t recommend or endorse any company or individual, we’ve put together some suggestions in our AUKW Domestic Help guide to help you understand what type of help you need and the options available so you can make an informed choice.

If someone is having difficulty with household tasks they used to do themselves because of their health, and it’s having an impact on other parts of their daily living, then they could be eligible for other help. There is a benefit called 'Attendance Allowance' to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability and people may be entitled to a free care needs assessment from the local authority adult social care team for extra support e.g. Adaptations costing £1,000 or less must be provided free of charge by the local authority if they are as agreed as meeting eligible needs. You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23). To request a free care needs assessment contact:

I need help with IT, technology or computers

We have suggestions, further information and links relating to this topic on our Local Traders and Services page under the ‘Aids, Equipment and Technology’ category subsection Technology and computer support

 

Looking for more specific advice?

Benefits, finances and money

I would like to maximise my income or know if I am entitled to any benefits

There are a variety of means-tested, non-means-tested benefits and schemes available for older people and Age UK’s info guide More money in your pocket (IG43) summarises these, the criteria and how to apply. Contact our Information & Advice team for a free income maxmisation check (a benefits check) where we look at all of these to help save you money.

Means-tested benefits like Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit take into account most of your income and a 'deemed' income from any capital you have over £10,000 and compare this to government-set figures for your circumstances to see if you're eligible. There isn't necessarily a limit on savings; it depends on your specific circumstances. 

If you’re a carer or disabled then you may be eligible for non-means-tested benefits or extra premiums that increase your eligibility for means-tested benefits.

Our AUKW Money MOT explains other schemes to help you save money or increase your income, such as NHS Low income scheme, tax allowances and non-means-tested Council Tax Discounts

See our dedicated Money and Benefits page for more information and ideas. We understand that benefits can be complex and we can give further advice on specific enquiries if needed. 

I need help with an Attendance Allowance form or claiming a disability benefit

Attendance Allowance (AA) is a non-means-tested disability benefit for older people from the government to help pay for the extra costs of having long term disability or health problems. Receiving Attendance Allowance can also increase eligibility for the means-tested benefits and could mean someone becomes entitled when they weren’t before. Age UK’s info guide Attendance Allowance (IG49) has more information. The number to request a form is the DWP 0800 731 0122 (requesting the form by phone means it can be backdated to the date of the call).

We’ve produced a AUKW guide to completing Attendance Allowance forms. We can also arrange a free telephone appointment or limited home visit if needed – contact our Information & Advice team to arrange a referral. We may also be able to help with Disability Living Allowance (DLA) forms

Additionally, if someone has difficulties with personal care then they could consider contacting the Local Authority’s adult social care team to request a free care needs assessment. This is an assessment of a person’s ‘eligible needs’ and can help because it provides a report of what the needs are and how these could be met (a care plan) and the cost of meeting the needs (a personal budget amount), which can be a good basis for arranging care and support. Adaptations costing £1,000 or less must be provided free of charge by the local authority if they are as agreed as meeting eligible needs. The local authority may also be able to contribute towards care package fees and larger adaptations, depending on the outcome of a separate financial assessment. If you have an informal carer, like a partner, they can ask for their own Carer's Assessment to get help.  More information is available in Age UK's info guide Getting help at home (IG23)

I have been awarded Attendance Allowance - what other help is there?

Did you know a successful Attendance Allowance (AA) claim can increase entitlement to means-tested benefits for yourself or someone that cares for you? This is because additional premiums like ‘severe disability premium’ and ‘carer’s premium’ can apply to the benefit calculation to increase entitlement, or mean you become entitled for the first time. You could become entitled to a non-means tested Council Tax Discount or Exemption. 

Age UK's info guide More money in your pocket (IG43) summarises these. Contact our Information & Advice team for a free income maximisation check where we look at all of these to help save you money. 

The extra money from Attendance Allowance aims to help people maintain their independence and improve the quality of their lives, although the money can be spent as one wishes. If you’re considering arranging or paying for help, services or equipment you can find information about these on our Local Traders and Services page and Organising Care and Support page. 

I would like to claim Carer's Allowance / I am a carer can I get extra money?

If you provide informal care for someone else regularly then you may be eligible for extra financial help as a carer, such as Carer's Allowance, Carer's Premium or a Carer's Council Tax Discount. Usually the person you care for must first be receiving a qualifying disability benefit, such as Attendance Allowance. There is more information in Age UK's info guide Carer's Allowance (IG52)

Important: If someone is paid Carer's Allowance this can negatively impact the cared-for person’s benefits; we advise that the cared-for person has a benefits check first so they can consider all options. Contact our Information & Advice team for a free income maximisation check where we look at all of these to help save you money. 

Carer's Allowance is worked out differently for people over State Pension age. If you receive a State Pension you cannot normally be paid Carer's Allowance itself because of overlapping benefit rules, but you can still have the carer premium if you meet the other criteria. If you already receive a means-tested benefit then a carer premium can increase your entitlement. If you don’t get a means-tested benefit then premiums can mean you become entitled for the first time (as it increases the income thresholds for being eligible).

I'm unhappy with a benefit decision, been overpaid or been turned down

Benefits can be complicated to claim and it can be disheartening to be turned down or be told that you’ve been overpaid. You should be notified in writing of the decision (a ‘decision letter’ or ‘overpayment letter’) which tells you what your options are for challenging the decision. Age UK has a factsheet FS74: Challenging Welfare Benefit Decisions with more detail. 

You can ask for written statement of reasons for the decision to help you put a case forward to challenge the decision; sometimes the decision letter uses standard wording that may not relate specifically to your claim or does not include a breakdown of relevant dates. You must usually challenge the decision within one month of the date on the original decision notice so don’t delay! 

Challenging a benefit decision can be complicated and you may be able to receive more detailed advice from one of our advisers. 

I need help with energy bills

Our AUKW Spread the warmth leaflet has information about local and national schemes available to help you keep warm over winter - in particular we are accepting applications for Wiltshire Surviving Winter Grant and complete a free income maximisation check to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to.

Warm and Safe Wiltshire (Tel 0800 038 5722) provide a comprehensive free energy advice service including • Advice on eligibility for various energy grants • Advice on insulation, heating and draft proofing and guidance on resolving damp and condensation issues • Guidance on heating systems and controls • Advice on understanding your fuel bills, managing fuel debt and switching energy tariffs.

Age UK’s info guide Save Energy Pay Less (IG30) has tips to reduce costs and use energy more efficiently.

The Citizens Advice website has information about the various government cost-of-living schemes available from the government.

I would like to see if I am eligible for any grants e.g. boiler, white goods

Our AUKW Grants information sheet (See: Benefits and Money page) explains options to consider for grants for unexpected bills, essential household items and white goods. We may be able to support you in applying for a grant or finding out where to access one. 

For boiler replacements or energy efficiency measures Wiltshire Warm & Safe (Tel 0800 038 5722) provide a comprehensive free energy advice service including • Advice on eligibility for various energy grants • Advice on insulation, heating and draft proofing.

Our AUKW Spread the warmth leaflet has information about local and national grants to help with the cost of keeping warm in winter - in particular we can support with applications for Wiltshire Surviving Winter Grant and complete a free income maximisation check to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to.

I have a consumer problem

The Citizens Advice website has lots of information, and a dedicated free Consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133.

If you are concerned about a possible scam Age UK’s info guide Avoiding Scams (IG05) has tips and explains the steps to take if you suspect or need to report one. 

I am thinking about making a power of attorney or a will

A Power of Attorney is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions for you, if you can’t make them yourself – or if you don’t want to. You can only make one if you have the mental capacity to do so and haven’t been put under any pressure. The person making a power of attorney is known as the ‘donor’, the person(s) appointed to help are known as ‘attorneys’.  There are 2 types and you can opt to make one or both: ‘Property and financial affairs’ and ‘Health and Welfare’. There is more information, including where to get the forms and the registration process and fees in Age UK’s info guide Power of Attorney (IG21)

A will can ensure that your money, property, possessions and investments (known as your estate) go to the people and causes you care about. There is more information in ‘Age UK’s info guide Wills and estate planning (IG31).

If you are struggling with managing your affairs because of a long-term health condition or disability, then you could be eligible for other help.There is a benefit called 'Attendance Allowance' to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability and people may be entitled to a free care needs assessment from the local authority adult social care team for extra support. You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23).

We have further information and links relating to this on our dedicated Wills and Power of Attorney page.

 

Organising care and support

I need a bit more help at home

One main route to support is contacting the council’s adult social care team to request a free Care Needs Assessment. This is an assessment of a person’s ‘eligible needs’ and can help because it provides a report of what the needs are and how these could be met (a care plan) and the cost of meeting the needs (a personal budget amount), which can be a good basis for arranging care and support. Adaptations costing £1,000 or less must be provided free of charge by the local authority if they are as agreed as meeting eligible needs. The local authority may also be able to contribute towards care package fees and larger adaptations, depending on the outcome of a separate financial assessment. There may be a wait for the assessment so make it clear if help is required more urgently. 

If you have an informal carer, like a partner, they can ask for their own Carer's Assessment to get help.  

Also, there is extra money from the government (which is not means-tested), called Attendance Allowance (IG49), that can help pay for this type of support and other things to help people to stay independent at home. We can help people to apply for this. 

You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23).

Finding a trustworthy cleaner or domestic help service can be difficult – whilst we can’t recommend or endorse any company or individual, we’ve put together some suggestions in our AUKW Domestic Help Guide to help you understand what type of help you need and the options available so you can make an informed choice

We have further information and links relating to this topic on our Local Services and Trades search page under the ‘Housing, care and help at home’ category.

I need equipment at home e.g. grab rail, stairlift, shower seat, personal alarm

Equipment can be purchased, rented or may be provided free through statutory services like your local authority.

One main route to support is contacting the council’s adult social care team to request a free care needs assessment. This is an assessment of a person’s ‘eligible needs’ and can help because it provides a report of what the needs are and how these could be met (a care plan) and the cost of meeting the needs (a personal budget amount), which can be a good basis for arranging care and support. Adaptations costing £1,000 or less must be provided free of charge by the local authority if they are as agreed as meeting eligible needs. The local authority may also be able to contribute towards larger adaptations (‘Disabled Facilities Grant’) or a care package, depending on the outcome of a separate financial assessment. There may be a wait for the assessment so make it clear if help is required more urgently. There is further information in the Age UK info guide Adapting your home (IG17)

If you have an informal carer, like a partner, they can ask for their own Carer's Assessment to get help.  

Some items of equipment, such as commodes or walking aids can also be requested free on loan from your GP or district nurse. 

Many items can be rented or purchased privately and there is information about these options on our Local Services and Trades search page under the ‘Aids, Equipment and Technology’, including information sheets for Stairlifts and Personal Alarms / Lifelines.

Also, there is extra money from the government (which is not means-tested), called Attendance Allowance (IG49), that can help pay for this type of support and other things to help people to stay independent at home. We can help people to apply for this.

I need to donate or sell equipment at home

When you no longer need equipment you might like it to go to someone else in need or just want it out of the way. Whilst Age UK Wiltshire can’t take equipment ourselves we have several suggestions on our Local Services and Trades page under the ‘Aids, Equipment and technology’ category subsection ‘Donating/ disposal of mobility aids and equipment’.

I need help with arranging care or understanding care funding

One main route to arranging support is contacting the council’s adult social care team to request a free care needs assessment. This is an assessment of a person’s ‘eligible needs’ and can help because it provides a report of what the needs are and how these could be met (a care plan) and the cost of meeting the needs (a personal budget amount), which can be a good basis for arranging care and support such as equipment or a care package. Adaptations costing £1,000 or less must be provided free of charge by the local authority if they are as agreed as meeting eligible needs. The local authority may be able to contribute towards a care package or larger adaptations, depending on the outcome of a separate financial assessment. There may be a wait for the assessment so make it clear if help is required more urgently. You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23). 

If you have an informal carer, like a partner, they can ask for their own Carer's Assessment to get help. 

Also, there is extra money from the government (which is not means-tested), called Attendance Allowance (IG49), that can help pay for this type of support and other things to help people to stay independent at home. We can help people to apply for this.  

Some people are eligible for some local authority funding towards care costs. A person’s financial contribution towards their care costs is calculated from their individual finances using rules outlined in the Care Act 2014 and most people need to pay something towards their care. If you have more than £23,250 in capital you may need to pay all your care costs as a ‘self funder’. In certain circumstances care costs may be met through NHS Continuing Health Care Funding (NHS CHC) which is not means-tested.  

There is more information about paying for a care package at home in Age UK factsheet Paying for care at home (FS46)

There is more information about paying for residential care homes in Age UK factsheet Finding, choosing and funding a care home (FS29)

For self-funders, the Money Helper Service has a page on self-funding your long term care with other options to consider. It is important to be aware of deprivation of assets rules in case you need local authority funding in the future. 

Age UK Wiltshire are not able to recommend specific care providers but see the 'Housing, Care and Help at Home' category of our Local Services and Trades Page for links to find a care agency, care home or personal assistant.

We understand that arranging and funding care support whether at home or residential care can be complex and we can give further advice on specific enquiries. 

I would like some help as a carer

One main option, if a caring role is having an impact on a person’s wellbeing and/or affecting their physical or mental health then they can request a free carer’s assessment from the local authority adult social care team. This is specifically for informal carers and can lead to help with the caring role, respite care, aids/equipment and support to complete a carer’s emergency card. The local authority may help fund some of this.

Additionally, you can contact your Local Authority’s adult social care team to request a free care needs assessment for the person you care for which could result in equipment and care to help them at home.   There is more information about these in Age UK’s info guide Advice for carers (IG13)

There is a local charity Carer’s Support Wiltshire tel: 0800 181 4118 that complete the carer’s assessments on behalf of the council and offer groups and support for carers. In Swindon there is Swindon Carer’s Centre.

We can complete a free benefits check to ensure a person is claiming everything available to them. Particularly, the cared-for person could be entitled to a non-means-tested disability benefit or the carer may be entitled to extra money for being a carer. This could be extra money to help pay for respite care and other support. 

See our dedicated Organising Care and Support page for more ideas and suggestions. We understand that arranging and funding care support whether at home or residential care can be complex and we can give further advice on specific enquiries if needed. 

I need help with hospital discharge or hospital stays

No-one likes the idea of going into hospital but the majority of us will need to do this at some point in our lives, particularly as we get older. Age UK’s guide Your hospital stay (IG07) is here to help put you at ease during what can be an unsettling time. 

In Wiltshire there is a free Home from Hospital service provided by Age UK Bath & North East Somerset (BANES). This short-term support helps practically and emotionally to build your confidence and connect you to groups and services.

We have suggestions, further information and links relating to hospital transport on our website under the ‘Travel and Transport’ category of our Local Services and Trades page.

If you feel you need some more support at home because of a long-term health condition or disability, then they could be eligible for other help. There is a benefit called 'Attendance Allowance' to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability and people may be entitled to a free care needs assessment from the local authority adult social care team for extra support. You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23). 

I am concerned about dementia or my general health

Maintaining good health is important to everyone as it can help you to remain independent and active. Age UK’s info guide Healthy living (IG24) has information on age-related health conditions, dealing with health services and tips on staying fit and healthy. 

In the first instance it’s a good idea to discuss your concerns with your GP. You can also explore the other FAQs and our dedicated Organising Care and Support page - there may be other support available such as adult social care assessment, support for carers and disability benefits.

 The following guides may be of interest to boost your physical and mental health: 

Age UK info guide Getting help at home (IG23)   

Age UK info guide Staying steady (IG14)

If you have concerns about your memory, Age UK info guides Living with dementia (IG48) and At home with dementia (IG55) can help and reassure you how to manage this condition. Wiltshire’s Dementia Road Map from Alzheimer's Support Wiltshire has lots of information on local support.

If you have concerns about your overall mental health or wellbeing we have a list of mental health support numbers

 

Travel and transport

I need help with transport or travel

We have suggestions, further information and links relating to this topic on our Local Traders and Services search page under the ‘Travel and Transport’ category. 

There's also information on hiring wheelchairs and mobility equipment in the 'Aids, Equipment and technology' section.

If someone is having difficulty with travel because of their health, and it’s having an impact on other parts of their daily living, then they could be eligible for other help. There is a benefit called 'Attendance Allowance' to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability and people may be entitled to a free care needs assessment from the local authority adult social care team for extra support e.g. Adaptations costing £1,000 or less must be provided free of charge by the local authority if they are as agreed as meeting eligible needs. You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23).   

I need help with a Blue Badge

A Blue Badge is a concessionary parking scheme for people with significant mobility problems which is available from your local authority. We’ve produced a free AUKW guide to completing Blue Badge forms.

If you are struggling with your mobility because of a long-term health condition or disability, then you could be eligible for other help. There is a benefit called 'Attendance Allowance' to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability and people may be entitled to a free care needs assessment from the local authority adult social care team for extra support. You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23). 

To apply, or additional support with a Blue Badge form, please contact your local authority:

 

Housing Options

I would like to understand my housing options e.g. sheltered

There are several housing options available for older people and Age UK's info guide Housing Options(IG08) gives an overview, including rented and private purchase sheltered housing and extra care housing. 

You can view a comprehensive database of rented and leasehold sheltered housing schemes nationwide here: www.housingcare.org.uk  (click on the accommodation tab and select ‘housing’). 

Most rented sheltered housing is allocated through the local authority housing register, together with housing association and social housing properties.  Each council has slightly different criteria for accessing sheltered housing which is often based on ‘local connection’, housing need, health and finances. This will be explained in their 'Social Housing Allocation Policy'. In Wiltshire and Swindon someone may still be able to apply for housing that is adapted for a disability, even if they own their current home or have savings - please refer to the council's allocation policy. Wiltshire council housing register: 0300 456 0106  Swindon council housing register : 01793 445500. Some housing associations may offer rented properties (‘direct lets’) outside of the housing register.

Purchasing Sheltered housing is possible through estate agents and housing developers - generally these are ‘leasehold’ so there may be additional service charges and ground rent to pay.  Age UK have a factsheet 'Specialist Housing for Older People' with things to consider.

If health reasons are a primary factor in needing to move, you may be entitled to a free care needs assessment from the local authority adult social care team for extra support at your current property to make it more suitable for your needs. If the assessment identifies that the current housing is not suitable then this could add weight to an application for sheltered housing. There is also a benefit called 'Attendance Allowance' to help with the extra costs of having a long-term health condition or disability and people. You can read more about these in Age UK’s info guide Getting help at home (IG23). 

We have suggestions, further information and links relating to this under the ‘Housing, care and help at home’ category of our Local Trades and Services page

I am thinking of moving into a care home

Moving into a care home is a big decision and a good starting point in arranging support is contacting the council’s adult social care team to request a free care needs assessment. This is an assessment of a person’s ‘eligible needs’ and can help because it provides a report of what the needs are and how these could be met (a care plan) and the cost of meeting the needs (a personal budget amount), which can be a good basis for arranging care and support such as equipment, care package or residential care home placement. 

Some people are eligible for some local authority funding towards care costs. A person’s financial contribution towards their care costs is calculated from their individual finances using rules outlined in the Care Act 2014 and most people need to pay something towards their care. If you have more than £23,250 in capital you may need to pay all your care costs as a ‘self funder’. In certain circumstances care costs may be met through NHS Continuing Health Care Funding (NHS CHC) which is not means-tested. There is more information about arranging and funding this type of care in Age UK's factsheet Finding, choosing and funding a care home (FS29)

If you have an informal carer, like a partner, they can ask for their own Carer's Assessment to get help.  

If you own a property there are particular rules and schemes to consider which are explained in Age UK's Factsheet Property and paying for residential care (FS38) 

For self-funders of care, the Money Helper Service has a page on self-funding your long term care with other options to consider. It is important to be aware of deprivation of assets rules in case you need local authority funding in the future. 

We have further information and links relating to this on our website  Local Trades and Services search page under the ‘Housing, care and help at home’ category.We understand that arranging and funding residential care can be complex and we can give further advice on specific enquiries. 

I have a housing problem

Age UK Wiltshire do not provide specialist advice on housing repairs and issues.

Shelter are a national housing charity that can provide advice on legal issues.

Wiltshire Law Centre provide free legal advice relating to housing matters to Wiltshire and Swindon residents.

The Elderly Accommodation Counsel have useful factsheets and a helpline for housing related queries.

We have suggestions, further information and links relating to this on our website Local Trades and Services search page under the ‘Housing, care and help at home’ category.

 

Wellbeing and Social Activities

I am feeling lonely or would like to increase my social contact

We understand that it can be a bit daunting joining a new group or activitiy and we've put together some prompts to help you identify and understand the options available and support to help you enjoy later life more in ‘Age UK Wiltshire social activities prompt sheet’ . Plus, we have collated lots of information about local groups and resources on our Social activities and groups search page

We offer Fitness & Friendship clubs across the county and may have availability with our Telephone Befriending service and other support services – see Our Services page under ‘Are you feeling lonely or isolated?‘ for details.

If you have concerns about your overall mental health or wellbeing we have a list of mental health support numbers on our Telephone befriending page

I have been recently bereaved and not sure where to start

When someone dies there are lots of things to sort out and this is often at an incredibly difficult time when you feel least able to manage. Age UK's info guide When someone dies (IG03) can help you with the practical and emotional issues that you may need to deal with. Age UK’s website page Coping with bereavement may also help you to move things forward.   

The charity Cruse have volunteers who are trained in all types of bereavement and may be able to offer support.