Age UK Cheshire – Supporting isolated older people through challenging times

Mr Yealm* was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease over 2 years ago and struggled to walk unaided or speak coherently. This has impacted on his well-being due to the loss of independence and financial problems. His wife became his full-time carer when the illness progressed. The caring role can be physically and emotionally demanding, therefore Mrs Yealm often felt overwhelmed at the challenges she faced. Mr & Mrs Yealm were referred to an Age UK advisor providing an outreach service at Macclesfield hospital to isolated older people in need of support.

Benefit entitlement was the main focus during the initial session. The Age UK advisor arranged a claim for Pension Credit and Carers Allowance, which linked to other benefits e.g. council tax reduction and fuel discounts. When Mr Yealm’s condition deteriorated, his wife was unable to leave him alone, therefore home visits were required to provide ongoing support including completing a carers assessment, and assisting with drafting letters to organisations such as HMRC, insurance and utility companies. Lasting Power of Attorney was discussed to enable Mrs Yealm to manage their affairs, as Mr Yealm’s communication difficulty limited his ability to deal with official bodies.

The main outcome from the support provided by Age UK was maximisation of income for Mr & Mrs Yealm, reducing the financial strain they had experienced since being unable to continue operating their business. Further information and advice was also provided during the course of one year, for instance, when Mrs Yealm was feeling stressed, the advisor referred her to Crossroads – a carer support charity, to enable Mrs Yealm to have a break from caring and reduce the sense of social isolation.

Mrs Yealm has commented several times that she appreciates the support from Age UK Cheshire East, stating: “I couldn’t have got through this without your help”

*Names have changed to protect anonymity.