Welcome to the Independent Living newsletter.
13.09.17 Contents:
Gut feelings!
Older drivers
Free personal care in Scotland
More on the Care Act appeal
Derek's View – No more nuisance calls
Latest Updates - VAT Exemption; Braille e-reader
1. Gut feelings!

"We all seem to be centred on our insides these days. Chefs and cooks are promoting foods in their recipes – such as kimchi and matcha – some that I’ve never heard of – which claim to promote the growth of “friendly” gut bacteria and deal with issues such as bloating and dysfunctional guts.

Look at Amazon books and type “guts” or “prebiotics” into your search box – dozens of titles appear! But all are focused on one main issue which has received much recent attention from scientists, and that is how our brains, our guts and the resident microflora interact to keep us healthy – or not..."

This is the way our resident nutrition expert, Mary Farmer, starts her review of not one but two books about guts. “Managing IBD” by Jenna Farmer (no relation!) and Michael Mosley's “The Clever Gut Diet”.

You can read more here


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2. Older drivers

I read this week that fewer young people are bothering to take their driving test. Less than a third of 17 to 20-year-olds have a licence now, compared with nearly half in 1994.

Driving may seem an irrelevance at that age, but for people over 70, it is, perhaps not surprisingly, an essential bulwark of their independence and enjoyment of life.

Independent Age has produced a new free publication, Behind the Wheel, full of tips and advice to help continue motoring safely and happily for as long as possible.

You can read more here


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3. Free personal care in Scotland

Paying for necessary personal care is one of the dividing lines between England and Scotland.

South of the border, most people pay some or all of the costs. There are some exceptions. NHS Continuing Care should pick up the tab for those who qualify. And if you meet your local authority's eligibility threshold for care, and your finances are sufficiently straitened, then you should get care services without paying.

In Scotland, free personal care is available for those aged over 65 – and the government has just announced that it will be extended to younger people as well, by April 2019.

You can read more here 


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4. More on the Care Act Appeal

I wrote last week that Luke Davey had lost his appeal against the judgement in favour of Oxfordshire County Council, when they reduced the budget for his care package.

There has been quite considerable coverage of the verdict, which is likely to set a precedent for future cases under the Care Act.

In order to provide a balanced view, I would draw your attention to legal analysis provided by adult social care law expert Belinda Schwehr, who explains exactly why the appeal court judges found as they did.

Useful reading for anyone who cares about the legality of decisions taken by local authorities, which is summarised here


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5. Derek's View – No more nuisance calls

One of our Independent Living site subscribers, Fuss Free Phones, has launched a mobile phone service that protects you from nuisance calls.

Available through Go Mobile retail shops and on the Fuss Free Phones’ website, the £9.99 a month plan provides 600 minutes of calls, unlimited texts, and no nuisance calls (which is a free opt-in service).

Customers supply a list of people they are happy to receive calls from. Anyone on this list will go straight through to them. All other calls are first diverted to friendly UK based telephonists who will speak to the caller. Genuine calls will be put through and scam, spam and nuisance calls will be blocked.

As there is no contract involved, you can cancel the service at any time with 30 days notice.

You can read more here


If you provide high quality products and services, and you would like to reach our site visitors and newsletter readers, please email derek@independentliving.co.uk


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6. Latest updates - VAT exemption; Braille e-reader

I hope that you already know about the VAT exemption available to disabled customers buying disability equipment for their own use?

One product area where there have been changes in the rules this year is adapted vehicles. So we have updated the information we have on Independent Living, to explain when you can and can't claim the exemption.

Read more here


I don't know what I would do without my Kindle, so I was intrigued to see that a volunteer-run social enterprise based in Bristol is very far advanced with producing a Braille e-reader. Braille is notoriously bulky, so a unit that allows you to read your complete library on one multi-line Braille device must be a welcome development. They aim to sell it for the price of an iPhone, and are still looking for people to test the latest prototype. You can get in touch through the website


Don't forget that you can apply to join the Independent Living Facebook group, if you would like to spend more time discussing these themes with other interested people. 


There are various ways you can get in touch with us: email me; visit our Facebook page and leave a message there; or if it's short and sweet, Tweet!

Previous newsletters are archived here.

If you are reading a copy of the Independent Living newsletter that has been passed on to you by a colleague or friend, why not sign up for your own free subscription – it's quick and easy, and won't lead to your inbox being bombarded with other stuff!

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Until next time, all good wishes,


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Frances Leckie

e: editor @ independentliving.co.uk
t: +44 (0) 208 133 0628
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