In 2009, Sandra started caring for her husband, Peter, who had been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS).
When Peter passed away in 2018, Sandra found it both physically and mentally exhausting to leave her home and engage in anything within the community.
Sandra's story continued ...
The overall household income had also gone down as Peter’s State Pension and an occupational pension had stopped. In 2019, Sandra had telephoned the Information and Advice Team, at Age UK Wiltshire, to find out whether she was entitled to a reduction in her council tax and to enquire about what local social opportunities there were. The information and advice team explored Sandra’s query and offered her a benefits check to see if she could maximise her income. The benefits check identified she could be eligible for some Pension Credit, which the information and advice adviser helped her to apply for, and this passported her to full Council Tax Reduction so she no longer needed to pay any Council Tax.
During further discussions with Sandra, it became apparent that she felt lonely and that she would desperately like to join an art class but lacked the confidence to attend alone. She was invited by the information and advice adviser to have an additional conversation with a community home visitor to discuss increasing her social opportunities.
A community home visitor visited Sandra at her home to explore how Age UK Wiltshire could give her further support. Sandra talked about her love of watercolour painting but admitted, until now, she hadn’t felt very creative as she was living with episodes of depression. Sandra and the community home visitor put a simple plan in place to support her to join an art class. Sandra was then allocated to a community volunteer.
The volunteer met her at her house, travelled to the art class with her and they took part in the session together. The following week the volunteer met Sandra at the art class. Sandra really enjoyed her new class and quickly made new friends. After 2 weeks Sandra began attending the art class without the support of the community volunteer, accomplishing her initial objective and regaining her confidence and independence.
Sandra has now been attending the same art class for 6 months. She also attends a wicker work class, with a friend that she made at the art class and enjoys meeting a group of friends each week at her local Age UK Wiltshire Fitness and Friendship group.