Category Archives: Financial & Poverty Avoidance Advice

AGE UK: Thinking about end of life

“Thinking about end of life” is a new guide from Age UK. It is for those who want to plan ahead and get their affairs in order, or those that have a life-limiting illness and want to know their support options as their illness progresses.

What the guide is about

Thinking about the end of life can be difficult, but being well informed can help you consider all your options at a time that’s right for you. Taking steps now can give you confidence that your wishes are documented so that people close to you know what you would want if the time came when you could no longer make your own decisions.

Making plans now can make things easier for those close to you down the line. And remember, you can always change your plans. If you know you have a life-limiting illness, this guide also
explains what options and services could be available as your illness progresses. If this applies to you it will help to know the questions to ask so you can you make the best choices for you.

It explains how to make your wishes and treatment preferences known, and helps you consider where you would like to be looked after towards the end of your life. You may have already put some plans in place, and there may be some things that you don’t feel ready to plan for yet.

Planning for the end of your life is a very sensitive and personal experience so pick out the sections in this guide that are relevant to you.

Download/Read the guide

Age UK also produces LifeBook, a handy book where you can keep useful information in one place. For your free copy, please call them on 0845 685 1061.


GUIDE: Choosing A Care Home

Choosing a care home, either for yourself or for a relative or friend can seem like a daunting challenge. However, there are professionals who can advise you and a number of web-based tools that can make the process a lot easier and allow you to make a decision based on a broad spread of information.

What Do Care homes Provide? Support provided in a care home can involve: help with eating, washing, bathing, dressing and toilet needs, and caring for you if you become ill. Some homes provide services for people with more complex needs, including nursing care.

Choosing a Care Home: Choosing a care home is an important decision. You need to choose one that is right for you, both now and in the future. You can get advice from a social worker, district nurse or your family doctor. Alternatively, you can use a range of online tools to help you make the decision:

  • Calderdale Council: For a list of all the care homes in Calderdale, their contact details, information about the service they provide and links to their Care Quality Commission reports, visit the Calderdale Council’s website, where the information is stored in their Social Care and Wellbeing Hub. Calderdale Council also provide other key info on Care Homes on their website:
    Financial Guide to moving into a care home
    Gateway to Care – all Calderdale’s main care services are now under Gateway to Care.
  • Quality Care Commission (CQC) Map of Care Homes. The Quality Care Commission (CQC) has produced a map of inspection ratings for care  homes. The map is very easy to use and each care home marked on the map has an accompanying rating and report. You can search by postcode to find services near you.
  • Age UK: There is a lot of useful information about choosing a Care Home on the AgeUK website including a guide and a checklist which can be downloaded.

INFO: Independent Age’s FAQs

A charity formed over 150 years ago, Independent Age is dedicated to helping older people. Thye now have a really well-written and informative web-site which is always worth a visit for advice and information.

We were interested to see their top 8 questions they are most frequently asked and they pretty much sum up the cares and concerns of many older people and their relatives –

Questions Independent Age get asked most

  1. Are there any benefits I can apply for?
  2. My benefits have gone down and I don’t know why.
  3. I’m selling my home. Will this affect my benefits?
  4. I need to find a care home – where do I start?
  5. What happens when I’m discharged from hospital?
  6. Do I have to sell my home to pay care home fees?
  7. Why am I being charged top-up fees?
  8. I’m struggling to live at home. Can I get help?

Visit our information area

MONEY: Avoiding Investment Scams

Investment scams

Even experienced investors can fall victim to scammers. No matter how much experience and confidence you have with investments and finances, you could still be at risk. Age UK have produced this really helpful article and supporting information to guide you. They also have an extensive section on their website about the many different forms of scams out there, how to recognise them and how to avoid them.

How do I spot investment scams?

Investment scams are usually difficult to spot because they’re designed to look like genuine investments. The scammers may have a professional looking website and documents. However, there are some tell-tale signs that suggest an investment opportunity is likely to be a scam or risky:

  • Companies contact you unexpectedly about an investment opportunity via cold calls, emails or follow up calls after sending out a promotional brochure
  • They pressure you with a time-limited offer, e.g. offer a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date
  • They downplay the risks to your money, e.g. they talk about how you will own the actual assets they may sell if the investment doesn’t work as expected, or use legal jargon to mislead you
  • They promise you tempting returns that sound too good to be true, e.g. offer much better interest rates than those offered elsewhere
  • They call you repeatedly and keep you on the phone a long time
  • They say they’re only making the offer available to you or even ask you not to tell anyone else about the opportunity.

How can I avoid investment scams?

If you’re not sure whether a scheme or investment offer is a scam, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 for advice.

What do I do if I think I’ve been scammed?

If you’ve been scammed you should always report it. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Unfortunately, scams can be very sophisticated and people of all ages can and do fall victim to them. Report what has happened to the police. You should also report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or use their online reporting tool. They also have a 24-hour web chat service.

Visit our section on Support for scam victims for a list of organisations who provide support and advice to scam victims.

INTERNET: Older People Losing Out

In an increasingly digital world, those who do not use digital technology can feel they
are being left behind. Age UK have produced a report into the way that older people are being disadvantaged by not being able to access the internet.

Here’s their introduction to the report:

We regularly hear from older people who are told that they should be doing things online and who find that because they do not use the internet they can miss out on the best prices, have to wait longer for responses, and have less choice.

Of even greater concern is when pressure to access public services online makes it harder to claim vital support, or may put people off applying in the first place.

We carried out a mystery shopping exercise, ringing 100 randomly picked local councils in England, to ask what options people have if they want to claim help with their rent and council tax but do not use the internet. Experiences varied but around two-fifths (41 per cent) of councils told us that claims have to be made online, or by downloading a form from their website, and others strongly encouraged online claims.

Many older people are reluctant to claim the financial support which they are due and any pressure to claim online is likely to be an additional barrier. Local councils and other providers must make sure their services are equally accessible to all and not consign those who do not use the internet to second class services.

Read the full report on the Age UK website

MONEY: Benefit Info

There’s a massive amount of really useful information on the Department for Work and Pensions’ website, but it can be a little daunting to navigate. To help you get started, here are some really useful links about the many benefits available, who can claim them and how to claim them:

MONEY: Take Five!

A new campaign is asking us all to take five minutes to think before we commit to act on a text or email, with the aim of stopping the rising tide of fraud and scams.

Most people think they wouldn’t fall for a fraudulent text or email, but criminals are more sophisticated than ever. Take the test on the Stop Fraud website to see if you can find the fraud and know when it’s time to say ‘My money? My info? I don’t think so’.

Banks and other financial service providers work hard to protect their customers – in the UK in 2016, their innovative systems stopped £6.40 in every £10 of attempted fraud. Even so, financial fraud losses totaled £768.8 million in 2016.

Clearly, something needs to be done, and it can be as simple as encouraging people to take a moment to stop and think.

Many people may already know the do’s and don’t s of financial fraud – that no-one should ever contact them out of the blue to ask for their PIN or full password, or ever make them feel pressured into moving money to another account. The trouble is, in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget this.

After all, trusting people on their word is something everyone tends to do instinctively. If someone says they’re from your bank or a trusted organisation, why wouldn’t you believe them?

Before you take their word for it though, Take Five a national awareness campaign led by FFA UK (part of UK Finance), backed by Her Majesty’s Government and delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement agencies, telecommunication providers, commercial, public and third sector, urges you to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense.