If you or a loved one is elderly, you’ll know only too well of the problems old age can bring. For many people, reduced mobility and an increased reliance on others are two huge day-to-day struggles that can be difficult to deal with. When the cost of mobility and independence aids are factored into the equation, a lot of people are made even more vulnerable because they simply cannot afford the support they need.
However, there are various grants available, many of which people don’t even know about, meaning you might be missing out on crucial help which has the potential to change your life.
Government disability grants, age concern grants and help from charities like The British Red Cross are just three potential sources of financial support that could give you more freedom and independence.
Government Grants for Disabled
The Disabled Facilities Grant is not only for those with lifelong disabilities, but also people who might be suffering from health problems due to old age. As long as you qualify for a payout, this scheme provides funds to help modify your home, giving you better access and making life that much easier.
Hand rails and grab bars can be installed, for example, whilst electrical equipment, such as light switches, can be altered to make them simpler to use. Bath aids for seniors can also be provided, and in some cases an entire bathroom might be relocated so you can access it more easily.
Depending on your financial circumstances, the Disabled Facilities Grant may be means-tested, with your income and savings taken into account by administrators when they determine your payout. However, if you’re receiving benefits, such as Housing Benefit, means-testing won’t be used. Overall, you could receive up to £30,000 in England, £36,000 in Wales and £25,000 in Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland, then Capability Scotland offers an alternative service.
Before applying for the grant, it’s essential you seek advice from your local social services. An occupational therapist will come to your home, assess your needs and outline the modifications you may need.
This means you can put in your grant request with all the relevant costs and details, allowing administrators to make an informed decision. By using the Gov.uk website you can find details for your local council.
Grants for the Elderly from Age Concern
Age Concern, or Age UK as it is also known, is a national charity that provides help and support to the older generations. The Age UK National Charity both administers and manages a wide variety of grant schemes on offer through registered partners known as Friends of Age UK. These organisations provide funding and services on a local level that is specifically aimed towards those in their twilight years.
Grants are not available to individuals or groups directly through Age UK, but via their local partners instead. If you’re trying to get support, it’s best to find your local Age UK partner and discover what help is available in your area. You can also email the Age UK grants team at email@example.com to find out more.
The British Red Cross
If you’re in need of homecare or support in the form of mobility aids, then it is worth contacting the British Red Cross. Though the charity doesn’t offer financial support, it can offer free services which may give you and your family some short-term respite from day-to-day challenges.
- Support at Home
The British Red Cross helps thousands of people across the UK through a volunteer program. These helpers can provide emotional and physical aid to you if you’ve just come out of hospital, or if you need a bit of additional care to avoid an unnecessary hospital admission. Workers are trained in basic first aid and social care, and can help with shopping, picking up prescriptions and offering companionship.
- Mobility Aids
The charity also offers short-term loans of mobility aids such as wheelchairs, ramps, bath seats, commodes and other equipment. Having access to these can make all the difference, especially if you’d be otherwise stuck at home and struggling to complete the simplest of tasks.
- Transport Support
Finally, the British Red Cross can also provide essential transport support, helping you to get to hospital appointments and offering a trained escort if needed. This not only gives you peace of mind that help’s available, but avoids paying out on costly taxi fares that you might not be able to easily afford.
There is a wealth of help available across the UK if you’re elderly and struggling with your independence but unable to afford costly equipment. Whilst government grants are a good place to start looking for financial support, don’t forget that your local social services and charities, such as Age UK, can offer invaluable support too.