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Cost of living help for people affected by dementia

As the scale of the cost of living crisis widens, Alzheimer’s Society is hearing from people affected by dementia that they are being hit harder than most.

While everyone’s circumstances are different, the charity has learned some people are cutting down on trips to see loved ones or using support services less because of transport or fuel costs. Others are either running up high energy bills by forgetting to turn lights and appliances off or are not turning heating and lights on enough to keep warm and safe.

If you’re affected by dementia and worried about how the rising living costs will impact your finances, there is help and support available.

1. Claim what you are entitled to

You may be reluctant, but claiming benefits such as Pension credit and Attendance allowance can make a big financial difference. This could include eligibility to cost of living payments and help with NHS costs.

Use benefits calculators to get an idea of what you may be entitled to, or even better get a full benefits check with Citizen’s Advice or your local welfare Rights Service.

Did you know?

Although carers over state pension age won’t usually be paid Carer’s allowance due to it overlapping with their state pension, they can get an extra £38.85 per week in their Pension credit. They just need to claim Carer’s allowance and have an underlying entitlement to it.

2. Make your house as energy efficient as possible

Specialist organisations such as the Energy Saving Trust provide practical advice on heating your home, saving water and buying energy-efficient products.

If you are turning off the heating more and more, Money Saving Expert’s guidance Heat the human, not the home has suggestions for staying warm and the comparable cost.

We know following these tips can be more of a challenge for people affected by dementia.

Memory loss can mean taps, heating and lights can get left on, leading to increased costs. Simple things like leaving a reminder note next to the switch or appliance may help.

If this makes little difference, there may be a technological solution, such as a pre-recorded message reminder above the door in the kitchen and bathroom. You could also explore options, such as push-down taps, sensor lights or switching to LED bulbs.

Did you know?

If you have high water usage due to managing incontinence, speak to your water provider about the WaterSure scheme. There are certain criteria to meet but, if you are eligible, this can cap the amount you have to pay.

3. Are you worried about paying for homecare?

Lots of people living with dementia rely on support to remain independent, but this care costs money.

If you have low income and capital (assets including savings and investments), you may be eligible for local authority funding towards your homecare. In the financial assessment, the local authority must leave you with enough money to pay for any disability-related expenditure and certain housing costs.

Once these are paid, they must also leave you with your Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG). This is the amount of income that is needed for basic living costs such as food, utility bills and insurance.

If you currently have a care package and are struggling to pay your bills, speak to the local authority. The purpose of the MIG is to promote independence and social inclusion, ensuring you have sufficient money to meet basic needs.

If increased costs mean this is no longer possible, the local authority may use their discretion to increase your MIG.

4. Access discretionary funds

If you have claimed all you are entitled to, there may be something called a Welfare assistance scheme or Household support fund in your area. In Wales this is called the Discretionary assistance fund, and in Northern Ireland, the Discretionary support scheme.

The help available varies as each local authority will decide how to spend money.

Some provide short-term help with food, bills or household items. Contact your local authority to see what help is available near you, or search End Furniture Poverty. Let your local authority know if you have additional costs due to living with or caring for someone with dementia, and what those costs are.

5. Look after your wellbeing

Even if you are managing financially, bad news about the rising cost of living may affect your mental health.

It may help to chat to other people affected by dementia on Alzheimer’s Society’s online community Talking Point or work thorough tips to help with anxiety. If you feel increasingly anxious, low in mood or generally overwhelmed, speak to your GP.Alzheimer’s Society is here for everyone affected by dementia. Call our support line on 0333 150 3456 or visit alzheimers.org.uk/support

theHRDIRECTOR chosen charity, 25% of all Subscriptions fees, in both print and digital, will go to the Alzheimer’s Society, a very worthy charity who are helping so many at their time of need.

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