I am fed and I’m warm. I know that I’m fortunate not to be one of those who has to make the choice between buying food and paying for heating. I am well aware that, for some, this is their daily predicament.
My problem is of a different order but it has on-going significance in my life.
Everything is breaking
My cooker has four rings. Of these, just one is functioning. My fridge and freezer can only be described as ‘in their dotage’. The fridge door does not always close and the freezer is temperamental, sometimes deciding to freeze, sometimes defrosting.
I know that it’s time for me to get new glasses and I know I need a second hearing aid.
This leaves me worrying about when the last ring on my cooker will give up the ghost. I worry about the safety of my not quite completely frozen foods.
A recent hospital visit showed that my glasses’ prescription has changed. I am eligible for help with this and have applied for the certificate to prove this, thanks to my carer who helped me navigate the application form. Yet, even with this certificate, my last visit to the optician cost more than £200. Apparently I needed complex lenses. What my new needs are I don’t yet know. It seems unlikely that the cost will be less. On top of this, visits to the optician involve £20 taxi journeys.
Making tough choices
When it comes to money I’ve decided that my priority has to be my sight as I already have one hearing aid.
I now need to have a carer with me on all bus journeys – this is essential for me. To apply for a modified bus pass I need to send a form of several pages and other documents, but I’m not sure of the postage. I know a larger than standard envelope containing more than a few sheets would cost more but don’t know how much more.
If my form has the wrong postage I don’t imagine a government body would pay the excess to receive it. I know I have to find out the correct postage but I have no post office in walking distance. If I ask my carer to do this in her time it would cost a minimum of £10 for half an hour including petrol and parking. A very expensive letter!
In some ways this might sound like a small matter, but for me this is a real difficulty; a true dilemma.
I find myself juggling all these imperatives. I feel pulled in different directions while having a deeper understanding that I’m fortunate to have the choices so many worldwide do not have.
I recently had a financial assessment from my local council to see how much I would have to contribute to my care package. It was very professional, polite, thorough and probing. I know it is public money and must be spent responsibly, but it was disconcerting to have my food shopping scrutinized in such detail, item by item.
The result almost made me laugh. I will not be required to contribute to my care package.
My income is less than the government deems the minimum necessary to live on.
It’s official but it doesn’t change anything. New glasses will have to trump new cooker, and fridge and freezer will have to limp incompetently along for the foreseeable future.
Dreams for the future
My dream is to save for a new television. The one I have still works, but a Smart one would make reading captions easier, something important when you have hearing difficulties and of course a TV is great company. It’s a little project of mine. I am saving for this by doing online surveys. It takes 10-12 minutes to complete one and for that you get 50 points. With five thousand points you get £50! I have my first fifty pounds and am half way to my second. Perhaps I will have enough for a TV in the after Christmas sales. Wish me luck!
Have you been affected by any of these issues?
This blog represents one individual’s experience; personal circumstances differ – if you have been affected by any the issues in this blog and want some advice about your own situation please contact Independent Age’s freephone Helpline on 0800 319 6789.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Independent Age.