Report from Trish Ireland

In February Ann Oliver, Age UK's Community Engagement Manager for the whole of Lancashire, spoke to the local Breathe Easy group meeting.

She explained how Age UK at national Level, based in London, differs from Age UK Lancashire; Help the Aged and Age Concern merged in 2009 to form 'Age UK', whose London base organises major campaigns - e.g. to encourage exercise, maintain brain health, Sing for Health, Winter Health Campaigns and apply for lottery funding. Meanwhile, Age UK Lancashire, one of 170 local Age UK areas, is 'federal', operating independently, fund raising in its own right, although it receives support from the London office.

Age UK Lancashire gives advice and help, including applying for available benefits. Folk at its Moorgate, Ormskirk office also organise activities including line dancing, IT classes, keep fit, chair based fitness, tea dances, painting - and more! It really is worth calling in to see what is on offer!

There is also a Dementia community link service and foot-care Service; it’s also very useful to know that Age UK offer a home-help service, at £14.50 per hour. Their home-helps have a contract of employment, including payment for travel between clients, which means that unlike using private care agencies, which are profit making, if you pay for a full hour's help, then you receive it...

Local Age UK Lancashire offices offer free, helpful leaflets on many subjects, and a free Age UK Life-book, a useful personal organiser, can be ordered. And if someone has problems using the phone, a special mobile can be programmed, with up to six names on, costing £40 for six months. Another excellent idea is to ensure one's name is on the Priority Services Register, run by the utility companies, for people over the age of 65 or with appropriate disabilities, e.g. breathing problems. If there is to be any planned disruption or 'outage' of electricity or gas services, then customers on the register are the first to have their services restored. They’ll also move meters, give free gas checks etc., to people on the register; find details from your bill, or phone customer services. Patients on oxygen need this service, as disruptions to electricity supply cause major problems. Modern phones also rely on electricity supply, but a simple mobile phone is available from Argos, priced only £5, which can be plugged straight into a phone socket and therefore work even in a power cut.

Thank you, Ann, for a very interesting and helpful talk. Please continue to support Age UK in all the ways you can and remember, if a charity shop says 'Age UK Lancashire' over the door, then all their profits, not just a portion, are used here in Lancashire.

Our next meeting is on Monday March 20th, at the Girl Guide HQ, Green Lane, Ormskirk, L39 1ND, next door to the Rugby Club, where ample free parking is available. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available from 11 a.m. and the meeting starts by 11.30 am., for approximately one hour. Everyone is welcome, members, visitors and friends and this next meeting we look forward to meeting speaker Julia, who’ll lead us in singing for better lung health.