1. Don’t begrudge spending money on your own comfort, health and quality of life. You deserve it!
AND FOR THE OVER-60’S –
The government’s annual fuel allowance of £200 is meant to be used for our warmth and comfort, and to ease the worry of the increased heating bill.
The Winter Fuel Payments Help line is 0845 9 151515
If you are receiving a disability or income-related benefit, you may be able to claim a grant of up to £2,500 for insulation and heating improvements. Call Home Energy Efficiency Scheme 0800 952 0600.
If you receive disability and income-related benefits you can claim Cold Weather Payments if the temperature falls below 00 C for 7 consecutive days.
There is also the Staywarm scheme. For a fixed charge you can use as much gas or electricity as you need. 0800 1 694 694
Finally, if you are unable to pay your winter fuel bill, in the first instance contact your supplier explaining your problem and informing them that you are a pensioner. Good news worth remembering, is that electricity companies and British Gas have a policy of not disconnecting pensioners between 1 October and 31 March – so keep warm and don’t panic.
AND DO YOU NEED REMINDING – DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY AND HEALTH ON CIGARETTES.
RESEARCHERS TELL US THAT THE AVERAGE BRITISH SMOKER WILL SPEND £91,832.43 ON CIGARETTES IN A LIFETIME.
(Now, I’ve never smoked so I wonder what happened to my £91,OOO?)
2. Keep your mind active, crosswords, sudoka, hobbies, etc. NEVER STOP LEARNING. If you have an interested mind, people are more likely to enjoy your company and be interested in you.
3. Keep your body active. As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it
Walk in the fresh air if possible. If you enjoy company while you are walking then join a rambling group. (Often ‘rambling clubs’ for the retired are more socially inclined ‘ambling clubs’). Gardening combines the benefits of fresh air, exercise and the results can give you immeasurable pleasure. Dancing; particularly formation or line dancing exercises the memory also. Swimming, is a particularly good exercise for all parts of the body with the added advantage that the water is supporting you and therefore there is no weight on the joints.
4. Feed your body with the correct foods. You wouldn’t expect your car to work efficiently if you fed it the incorrect fuel. So feed your body with nutritious foods that contain the necessary vitamins and minerals in order for it to return optimum performance. With winter approaching we need to build up our immune system, so in addition to a well balanced diet of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and nourishing protein (laced with the benefits of virgin olive oil and garlic), we should add a few supplements to help us on our way. In addition to a good multi-vitamin tablet, you’ll probably benefit from extra Vitamin C, Echinacea, EPA fish oils, selenium, ginko biloba to aid circulation, particularly to the extremities, and glucosomine to help with those aching joints.
Don’t forget your flu jab and the jab against pneumonia for the over 70’s.
There is also really excellent news on the common cold front. At long last there appears to be something that stops a cold developing. Vicks First Defence is a spray that you use at the first sign of a cold and it stops the cold virus in its tracks. This miracle goes on sale during October 05.
5. Socialise. Possibly I don’t have to remind you about this as the majority of retired folk I meet complain that they are busier now than ever they were, that there are not enough hours in the day, and they wonder how they ever found time to go to work.
There are so many clubs and groups to join. To name a few popular ones, U3A (University of the Third Age) for both sexes and with interesting speakers, and offering numerous sub sections for specific group interests and hobbies, Women’s Institute, (has gained a new image after the film Calendar Girls), Townswomen’s Guild, Gardening Clubs, Art Clubs, etc., and many clubs aimed specifically at the retired.
If transport is a problem, remember most local authorities offer free or reduced bus fares for senior citizens and travel tokens for the disabled. There is a Senior Railcard for reduced train fares for the over 60’s. National Express have a Routesixty Scheme which enables over 60’s to travel nationwide very cheaply (Tel 08705 808080). Also, occasionally, National Express offer their ‘go anywhere for £5 scheme’.
If you have difficulty in getting around the town, then there is Shopmobility where you can hire mobility scooters (various models and sizes available) and electric and manual wheelchairs. Shopmobility is usually manned by helpers who will be only too pleased to instruct and allow you to practice before you are let loose on the town. Also there is the added advantage that there is usually a free car park attached to Shopmobility for clients’ convenience. If you have difficulty in using public transport, often local authorities provide a ‘dial-a-ride’ service from your home to the shopping centre.
Well, whatever you do – ENJOY IT! We were always told that laughter is the best medicine and now we know it to be true – it raises the serotonin levels in the brain and gives you that ‘feel good’ factor.