How can I help my elderly parents if I live far away?

Caring for your aging parents can be a little more difficult when you do not live nearby. Since moving closer to your parents may be difficult because of your job, and since many parents are not ready to surrender their freedom and move in with their children, steps must be taken to make sure that care is provided. 


Create an Information Packet 


Create a file where you can store important information regarding the care of your parents. Include things like contact information for their medical care providers, their financial information, and contact numbers for their neighbors. Search for charity and similar organizations in their local area that may be able to provide assistance in different ways.  Keep this information handy as well. Update the information regularly, and if you have siblings, make copies for distribution. 


Powers of Attorney 


If you are going to help care for your parents' finances or help make decisions about their healthcare, make sure that you have all the legal documents in order to take these steps. You do not want to be in the middle of an important situation and legally be unable to help.  


Check In Often 


Not only do your parents enjoy hearing from you, but a call in the afternoon a couple of times during the week can also be very useful in their care. These calls don't have to be seen as intrusive or overbearing but can be used to find out if your parents are eating, need assistance or are feeling well. Ask simple questions like what are you having for tea today? What was on the dinner menu last night? Did you ever go visit the chemist for a refill on your prescription? Simple things can go a long way in providing quality care without making your parents feel as if they are no longer independent. 


Go to Appointments With Your Parents 


Attending medical, financial and legal appointments with your parents will give you a broader perspective of what they need. Again, it may be necessary for you to have legal paperwork in place to attend some of these appointments. Make sure everything is in order before going so that you can legally ask questions and get the right answers. 

Share the Load 


If you have family members that can help, let them. Many people do not realize how much pressure caring for a parent long-distance can be on just one person. There are times that it can become very overwhelming. Sharing this chore with family members, or even paid for services on occasion, can be beneficial to the care provider as well as the parents.  


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Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).