Whether it’s due to disability, illness or age, losing your independence is something most people dread. Having worked so hard for a home of your own, leaving it behind for a care or nursing home is a wrench. However, there are a number of ways that you can retain your independence for longer.

Firstly, you must recognise and acknowledge the tasks which are becoming too difficult for you, and develop coping strategies for them. For example, if you have trouble remembering whether you’ve taken your medication, simply putting a Post-It note on the packet with the day’s date on it when you take it will stop you wondering later. If there are some tasks that are necessary but which you can’t develop an independent strategy for, you can get care in your own home from a range of agencies. Homecare.co.uk provides a thorough listing as well as other advice.

There are a number of benefits which can help you to remain independent in your home. The Gov.UK site lists them. It is a good idea to go through these with a family member or advocate from the Citizens Advice Bureau to find out exactly what help and assistance is available.

If you can afford to – and some grants and benefits may help with this – there are plenty of modifications that you can make to your home to make sure that you can live there comfortably for longer. A lift company, Axess2  for example, can install disabled access lifts to avoid the problems of stairs and allow you to continue using your upstairs floors. If you’re confined to a wheelchair, you can have your kitchen and bathroom adapted to suit, with surfaces set at the right height for you and special baths and showers that are easy for you to get yourself into.  An electric bed from a company like The Electric Bed Company makes it easier to get in and out of bed, one of the prime challenges for independence, and similar adjustable chairs are available too.

Simple steps like eating the right diet can also help and home delivery meal services make this easy. One company Wiltshire Farm Foods will bring nutritious and tasty meals to your door. This avoids having to negotiate the supermarket and means that individuals do not need to spend hours chopping, preparing and mixing foods in the kitchen.

Finally, getting some exercise is important. Talk to your GP about what exercise is appropriate to your condition and don’t overdo it, but staying as mobile and as fit as you can will ensure your independence for longer.


UK unemployment figures are falling slowly but steadily; but if you have the misfortune to lose your job that news won’t be of any comfort to you. Redundancy or dismissal can be a shocking, traumatic experience which causes financial and emotional difficulties, but this guide can help you through.

Was It Fair?

Most people losing their job will feel a sense of unfairness, but sometimes it’s more than just the shock speaking. Employers are required to treat their staff fairly and can’t simply dismiss employees without good cause. Even where there is reason, procedures must be followed, so if you’ve been dismissed without cause or without the necessary performance or disciplinary warnings, you may be able to claim compensation. Contact a reputable no-win, no-fee company like Claims.com to find out if you have a case – www.claims.com/claim-type/unfair-dismissal-compensation

Benefits

While some may resist claiming government benefits out of a sense of pride, they are designed to help in precisely this sort of situation, providing a safety net until you get back on your feet again. Depending on your circumstances, a range of benefits may be available to you, but Jobseeker’s Allowance is the main one for the recently unemployed. You can find out how to claim on the Government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/how-to-claim

Start Your Search

Try not to waste any time- the perfect new job could be waiting for you already. The government’s Universal Jobmatch site has plenty of opportunities for you to apply for, and there are plenty of other job websites like Monster and fish4jobs to check, too. Don’t forget to check the job pages of your local paper, and ask your friends if they know of anything that may be suitable for you. You can also use recruitment agencies, either for temporary work as a stop-gap measure or to help you find a new permanent position. Hays have their job search site at www.hays.co.uk/jobs-search/

Improve Your CV

Before you apply for a new job, you need to make sure that your CV is up to date and that it shows you in the best possible light. If you’ve been off the job market for a while, it can be difficult to know what employers are looking for, so consider using a professional CV writing service to get your résumé up to scratch. Companies like City CV at http://www.citycv.co.uk/cv-writing/ will provide you with an assessment of your CV, recommend the best options they offer to improve it, and will also be able to help you with interview coaching to make sure that you don’t miss out on any golden opportunities.

Don’t Panic

Whatever you do, don’t panic. Losing your job can be emotional, stressful and financially trying, but with the right attitude it won’t be the end of the world. Above all, be confident in your skills and abilities and you’ll soon find yourself settling in to a new job.


PensionersBeing a pensioner is harder than one would think, especially as some people over 60 do not have a pension scheme from their working life. This means that they are on a basic pension from the government, which frankly is nowhere near enough to see them through a week. But luckily, there are different schemes and actions in place that will make life less expensive and aid their money problems.

 

Free Bus Pass

Many of our older generation are no longer able to drive or can afford the insurance and fuel that it takes to run a car. The free bus pass scheme has been in place for many years now and is a fantastic way to allow the OAPs access to the world outside their home. Getting out and about to do some shopping or take a day trip to the next town is fantastic for pensioners and with the free bus pass this gives them that opportunity. If you are a pensioner and you have not applied for your free bus pass, click here for information and details to begin your free transport!

Free Boiler

There is certainly nothing worse in the winter than your old boiler that has been in your home for 40 years breaking down and leaving you without any heat. This is a pensioner’s nightmare and certainly can cause drastic problems including health problems such as pneumonia, which is common in winter with the older generation. Certain boiler service companies will provide you with a free boiler if you are over 60, click here for Rogerson Homeserve who provide a pensioner scheme. A free boiler and service will save a lot of money for the elderly and keep the warm in the winter.

Free TV Licence

This applies to those who are over 75. Unlike other schemes, you will still have to pay for your TV licence up until this age but once you hit 75 you are entitle to a full TV licence. TV licences are essential to pay for the broadcasting network and for giving you the joy of watching your favourite programme every night. Click here for the official details around getting a free TV licence or if you are concerned that you have been paying for one despite being over 75. You should then be entitled to a full refund of any money you have paid, and after all it’s a good reason to look forward to 75!

Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born before  the 5th of July 1951 you are entitled to a payment to help you pay for your winter fuel which can be up to £300 if you over 80 years old. This is a brilliant scheme that helps those who haven’t had a fantastic pension or none at all. It will ensure that the elderly of us will have enough heating in their homes to see them through the winter. If you are unaware of this, it is a simple process to apply for and dependent on your circumstances this will determine how much fuel money you are allowed. Click here for the official website that will provide you with all the breakdown information that you need to know.

It can be hard being a pensioner and especially with money problems but there are plenty of ways that you can receive help and do not be afraid to ask. Click here for the official Citizens Advice website, that will provide you with details on what help you can receive, and how to get it.


According to the BBC article ‘Divorce Rates Data- How Has It Changed?’, 34% of marriages will end before they reach their 20th anniversary, divorce rates are highest amongst 40-44 year olds and 1 in 3 of all marriages will end in divorce.  These sad statistics reveal that today divorce is the unfortunate reality of many people today so at least you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

The first thing that struck me after I had finalized my divorce was my sense of loneliness. Although there had been problems in my marriage for many years, I had always seen myself as part of a unit  or a couple and so re-branding my identity that represented this new me was important.  I couldn’t think of a version of me that did things without my now ex-husband and thinking of things that  I alone enjoyed had me confused! I ended up joining the gym and really getting into yoga as it had a real calming effect on me and helped me centre my emotions.

another really important factor of moving on after a divorce is to clear any debris of the marriage out of your new space.  As human beings, we’re innately wired to attach meaning to arbitrary objects. I’m not saying to throw out your memories as this is also counterproductive, but clearing them away and storing them is a good idea so bad memories are not conjured up when you least expect them.  Since I was living in a much smaller flat and I had a lot of stuff, I found this blog ‘15 hideaway storage ideas for small spaces by Apartment Therapy really helpful when coming up with creative solutions.

Finances are another really complicated issue when it comes to divorce.  I never looked after that sort of area so when I got divorced, I was at a true loss as to what to do. Luckily, I found The Woman’s Wealth Expert who specialises in financial planning for women and she really helped me get my books straight.

Finally, when divorcing keeping a good network of friends and family close is essential.  You shouldn’t feel like you’re a hassle or an inconvenience.  Your friends are always more willing to help you than you think so you should utilise them! Try not to dwell on issues from the past and instead, concentrate on your future because there really is a life after divorce.

 

 


As anyone who has impaired mobility will know, the need to retain independence and freedom is paramount. Whether you have had reduced mobility for some time or if you are just getting used to life with reduced mobility, it is worth exploring some of the assistance options that may be open to you to help keep mobile. This blog explores just three of the options available.

Mobility Allowance / Motability

Depending on the severity of your mobility restriction, you may be entitled to either the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. The mobility component has two rates, lower and higher, which are awarded depending on meeting certain eligibility criteria. The lower rate will enable people with smaller impairments to meet additional costs such as taxi fares. The higher rate of mobility allowance can be used to lease a car on the Motability scheme. Part or all of the allowance can be exchanged for a car that you will keep for 3 years. At the end of the 3 year period the car is replaced with a new one. Most car dealerships are participants in the Motability scheme and some are able to provide adaptations to vehicles such as additional steering wheel controls.

Help For Non Drivers

If you have never driven, or your impairment means that you can no longer drive you may still be able to get a vehicle on the Motability scheme. Your partner or a nominated person can drive a Motability scheme car for you. Companies such as Gleneagles Conversions specialise in wheelchair accessible vehicles. These cars have been adapted to include ramps or lifts to get you into the car without having to leave your wheelchair.  If you do not qualify for the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA, companies such as Gleneagles also deal with second hand vehicles that may be perfectly suited to your needs.

Another option available under the Motability scheme is a mobility scooter. Electric mobility scooters can be used by anyone, without need for a driving license. In most cases you will not need to surrender your entire mobility allowance to get a mobility scooter.

In Home Adaptations

Making the home accessible is just as important as outdoor mobility. Installation of a stair lift can give mobility impaired people the freedom to enjoy their entire home. Dependent on your circumstances you may be able to get help with the cost of installation of stair lifts and other home adaptations in the form of a disabled facilities grant from the government.