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This week’s eldercare news looks at Carer’s Credit; price rises for dental care, probate, mobile phones and more; e-prescriptions for some controlled drugs; reasons to take more Vitamin D; good practice for private care providers; feeling younger by being in control; and PIP reviews

Heard of Carer’s Credit? You may be missing out

The Telegraph reports that thousands of carers who are not working while caring for someone are damaging their future retirement incomes by not claiming Carer’s Credit. This is a National Insurance credit available to help plug gaps in National Insurance records for those who are caring for someone at least 20 hours a week. The Department for Work and Pensions estimates around 200,000 carers are eligible for the credit, but only 17,388 claimed it last year. Find out more about the credit and how to apply here.

Dental check prices up – and more

The cost of NHS dental care in England rises by 5% on 1 April. That means a checkup will cost £22.70, up from £21.60. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland set their own dental charges. MoneySavingExpert has a useful condensed guide to dental treatment costs across the regions.

Meanwhile, Which? provides a roundup of price rises happening in the next month, including council tax, utility bills, stamps, car tax, Sky services and mobile phone charges.

Fee or tax? Probate price rise excites argument

Is the increase in probate a tax or not? Probate fees are rising by up to £6000 in April 2019 in England and Wales. The Government incurred criticism by calling this a fee rather than a tax, but a new report from the Office of National Statistics actually does refer to it as a tax. If it’s a tax, then it should be debated on as part of a parliamentary bill. The Ministry of Justice is sticking to its guns and repeating that this is a fee. Currently probate carries a flat fee of £215 in England and Wales on estates over £5000. That threshold will rise to £50,000 in April, but estates valued above that figure will be charged more.

Controlled drugs available through electronic prescription

Pharmacies in England will now be able to dispense some controlled drugs through electronic prescription following a successful trial, reports digitalhealth.net. While more than 90% of GP practices and pharmacies already use electronic prescription, it is only now that prescriptions for Schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs, such as morphine and pethidine, will be delivered to pharmacies electronically.

More reasons to up the Vitamin D intake

A local report from the Halifax Courier says that Vitamin D deficiency cases have soared by 84% at a local NHS Trust over the last three years. Most were secondary diagnoses, so not the main reason for admission to hospital. Public Health England recommends supplements for those who do not get enough Vitamin D from sunlight, such as those living in care homes. We’ve got an article that explains a bit more about why Vitamin D is important.

Meanwhile more Vitamin D research has suggested that taking three times the recommended daily dose could improve memory in older women who are overweight, but led to slower reaction times, which in turn could lead to the risk of falling.

Care providers receive advice on good practice

Worth a read. The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in England has issued a good practice guide to care providers based on answers to complaints it has received. Common issues include a lack of clear information about fees, charges and contracts; problems with billing and invoices; ensuring people’s belongings are looked after properly; and dealing with challenging behaviour from friends and relatives. You can download the guidance from this page.

Being in control makes elders feel younger

Older adults feel younger when they have more control over their daily lives, concludes an academic study of 116 adults aged 60-90. That’s regardless of their health or the stress they feel. (Conversely health and stress make younger people feel older, although control doesn’t feature in how they feel.)

PIP reviews were allegedly never going to happen

Further to our story about PIP reviews for pensioners with disabilities in our last issue, the Department of Work and Pensions has quietly admitted that it never had the capacity for such reviews, reports the iNews. As the news source suggests, this goes against minister Amber Rudd’s assertion that the change was all part of improvements to the way the DWP supports older people.

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