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Dealing with the Cost of Living Crisis in Retirement

23/01/2023 General, Newsletter, Blog

Dealing with the Cost of Living Crisis in Retirement

As the Government’s new energy price guarantee came into effect last year, many households on lower incomes, and in particular, the retirement community, have seen their bills double this winter compared to the previous one. The cost-of-living crisis is pushing millions into poverty, and the subsequent hike in energy bills looks set to increase this number even further.

How is this affecting the retirement community?

An Age UK report released last year exposed how this surge in household bills has affected the elderly. They found that two million retired households will not have the income for essential spending, with 960,000 already living in poverty. The report also revealed that some individuals are resorting to drastic measures to support higher household bills, such as cancelling carers.

If you are of retirement age or caring for someone that is, there are simple changes that can be made to your home and looking into extra help that you might be entitled to, may ease some of this stress.

Make sure your home keeps the heat in:

The first step you need to take is getting your home running as efficiently as possible, as it is always cheaper to heat a home that is well insulated. So, make sure that you draught proof windows and doors and ensure your loft is insulated. It is also wise to have your central heating system serviced each year before the cold weather hits. Make sure gas heating is serviced by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer. Here are some more of our top tips…

  • Draw your curtains in the evenings as this will minimise heat loss through your windows. If you have long curtains, tuck them behind radiators so that heat coming from them isn’t trapped and wasted.
  • Keep your radiators clear from furniture or washing as this will allow heat to circulate from them more easily.
  • You might have some rooms in your house that you don’t use that often such as the dining room or spare bedrooms. Turn off the radiators in these and close the doors to minimise heat loss into those unused rooms.
  • Use heating controls such as thermostats or timers to keep your home at a stable comfortable temperature. It is more efficient to keep your house at a stable temperature rather than turning the heating up and down.
  • In case of water pipes freezing, make sure you know where the main stopcock is.
  • Keep some salt and sand handy to put onto steps and paths when it is icy to help avoid any slips and falls!
  • Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, particularly if the weather might stop you getting out to pick them up. Most local pharmacies now deliver free of charge if you ask.
  • It is a good idea to keep extra food in the cupboard and freezer in case you can’t get out to the shops due to severe weather.

Get a home energy check:

If you are eligible, some local Age UK branches offer home energy checks. They do this by sending a trusted handyperson into your home who will look at all aspects and ensure that your home is energy efficient. If upon inspection, they feel that you would benefit from some free equipment to help you save money on your bills, they will speak to you about this.

Check eligibility for all available government grants and benefits:

There are a number of schemes which will help you out with energy bills and it is worth looking into these to see what benefits you might be entitled to. There might be more financial support available than you think. Some of these include:

  • The winter fuel payment – is an annual tax-free payment for households that include someone born on or before 25 September 1956. It's designed to help you cover your heating costs in winter and is an annual tax-free payment. Once you have registered for this you will get it every year. Call the Winter Fuel Payment helpline on 0800 731 0160 to get started. You'll need your National Insurance number and your bank or building society details.
  • Cold weather payment – this is a benefit that is paid if it is very cold where you live. It is for temperature at or below 0 degrees and you might be eligible to receive £25 a week for each 7-day period of very cold weather. You can check here if your area is due to get a cold weather payment this winter -
  • Warm home discount – is a discount on your electricity bill which is paid if you get pension credit or are on a low income.
  • Fuel Vouchers - are available for those with a prepayment meter and those who do not use gas or electricity for heating.

Last year the government have also added the following:

  • Energy Bills Support Scheme - This is a £400 discount applied to your electricity account. It’s not a loan – it doesn’t need to be paid back. You might get a voucher if you’re a prepayment customer. Contact your supplier for more information.
  • Cost of living payments - If you receive Winter Fuel Payment, you could get a £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment top-up. If you receive means-tested benefits (including Pension Credit), you could get a £650 Cost of Living Payment. If you receive certain disability benefits (including Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment), you could get a £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment.

Our residents' financial stability and independence remain a priority at Rangeford Villages, and we are constantly evaluating how we can assist in these difficult times. With this in mind, we’ve introduced an initiative, which aims to take away the burden, of your household bills for the first four years* to enable peace of mind and to focus on enjoying your retirement. Our environmentally friendly villages are built with energy efficiency in mind, so you can rest assured that your future bills will be as low as possible.

For more information, call our friendly sales team on  0800 135 7422.

* Rangeford Villages will pay the annual energy costs for all residents purchasing a new build property for a period of four years. Energy bills are to be paid by the resident and Rangeford Villages will reimburse the resident annually. The incentive is capped at £3,000 per year. Where applicable, the incentive will pay for gas and electric energy bills at Mickle Hill, Siddington Park and Wadswick Green. This offer is not valid at Homewood Grove or any other future village. This offer is not transferrable for cash and is not available in conjunction with any other offer. To take advantage of this incentive, incoming residents must legally complete their selected property before 31st May 2023.

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