The comfort of strangers

The Comfort of Strangers

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This month Val discovers the power of reaching out to friends both new and old and the value of getting specialist advice from the experts

There are many charities out there that specialise in various aspects of help. The British Red Cross lend disability aids for 3 months at a time and you can renew the agreement. It only takes a donation. I got a walking stick. However, I then went ahead and bought one from Amazon. They are only about £10 and are worth every penny.

Social media magic

I put out a message on Facebook that I needed to borrow a wheelchair. I had an immediate response from a couple of friends and they came round to deliver it. It was a fold-up one, and although it was lightweight and I was able to load it into the car, it was very hard to push and bumpy for John. However, they gave it to us.

Social media is a wonderful way to get help. We borrowed wheelchairs from supermarkets and finally bought one of our own. Although it’s heavy to lift into the car, it gives John a more comfortable ride and is easy to push. When I had bought the wheelchair and the stick, I donated the first wheelchair to the British Red Cross.

A little help from my friends…

Support also came from three neighbours who volunteered to be on the call list and have keys. This meant I could then start to go out in the evening twice a week and pop to the shops if necessary. Apparently some people tend to forget about the needs of the carer. But in my case I was looked after by neighbours, friends and close family members. Respite is extremely important.

A pendant alarm we got free from the council (as mentioned last month) was installed. The alarm meant that if John fell or something similar, he could press the pendant around his neck and the intercom would be activated. Help would be there quickly via the key holders.

Specialist advice

One thing I couldn’t have done before John was finally diagnosed was check out the specialist knowledge at the Parkinson’s UK website. Almost every condition has a charity dealing with it and they in turn will have a website. The information there can make sufferers and their carers feel less alone and advise on benefits and grants that are available.

We also found the Rainbow Centre, based in Fareham which helps sufferers find strategies to deal with certain disabilities. However, John was not in a good place at the time, so again, we were too early to try it. It will be something to think about maybe going back to later.

Next month: Val and John get a boost from the Blue Badge system and discovering the free transport on offer to save the cost and hassle of getting around and parking.

Read the previous Val for Money blog posts.

For a list of Disability Charities, check out the Princes Trust page.
The Money Advice Service has an info page on grants for ill or disabled people here.

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