As you are probably aware, the UK is amid a cost of living crisis. This means that prices are rising at rates that we, as a country, have not experienced since the 70s. All the while, disposable income drops to an all-time-low. Energy prices, in particular, are rising fast and, despite Liz Truss’ energy guarantee enforcing a price cap for typical households for two years (reducing uncertainty by freezing energy bills at £2,500 a year), we all need to prepare to face increasing financial pressure as a result of inflation.
Fortunately, there are ways we can be conserving money and energy during this uncertain period. Martin Lewis has shared a range of advice and strategies at this time that can be used to stay afloat amid the crisis. He suggests that, as many households in England, Wales and Scotland are entitled to some form of Government support this year, you should take advantage of this support, in order to manage increased energy bills. A non-repayable £400 energy grant will be available to all households in October, said to be spread over a 6 month period. Towards the end of the year, a top-up of £300 will also be paid to the UK’s 8 million pensioners who are currently receiving the winter fuel payment. You will qualify for this payment if you are over state pension age (aged 66 or above) between the 19th and the 25th September 2022, provided that you meet certain other requirements. To check if you are eligible, go to www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/eligibility.
If you live alone, with students, have a ‘severe mental impairment’, have a live-in carer, receive pension credit or are on a low income, you could be entitled to a council tax discount. See Council Tax Discounts for full eligibility information, as discounts can range from 25-100%.
If you haven’t done so already, it is recommended, now more than ever, that you install a smart meter, which allows you to track your energy use and, more importantly, how much it is costing you in real-time. You may even choose to set a budget on your smart meter, in order to save as much money as possible this winter.
We understand that the cost of living/ energy crisis can be particularly tough for those living with dementia and their loved ones, especially those that may already be financial vulnerable. However, there are ways to manage your finances, while also remaining warm and safe this winter. It is recommended that, if possible, you use a slow cooker, or batch cook for your loved one with dementia. This way, meals do not have to be cooked every night and energy is conserved, as air fryers, microwaves and slow cookers are all cheaper to use than gas ovens. Pre-cooking meals for the week also means that you are likely to be less tempted to opt for an expensive takeaway, as the meal will already be prepared.
It may also be useful to replace traditional halogen bulbs with LED ones, as these waste far less energy, which may be particularly useful if you prefer to keep a hallway or bathroom light on for your loved one with dementia during the night. Another way to keep warm and save energy this year would be to place blankets around the house of someone living with dementia, so that they are less likely to turn up the thermostat when they are alone. Providing your loved one with plenty of removable layers, such as cardigans or jackets, also means that they are able to regulate their temperature without wasting energy. It is also possible to install a thermostat cover, or a smart thermostat, that alerts you when the temperature of your home rises past a preferred temperature.
You may also choose to make someone with dementia a flask of tea or coffee in the morning, so that they have the option of a hot drink throughout the day, without having to boil the kettle multiple times. If you suspect that you may struggle this winter, please contact us on 01474 533990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org support.