Societal Perks for Older People
On the whole, the UK does what it can to make retirement as easy as possible for older people. We could get into a debate about what can be done to improve life for older people but if we’re not careful, we could take our eye off the many benefits that later generations are entitled to. Here are some of the perks that our society gives to older people.
Some many seem small or inconsequential but remember that all are a bonus to someone, somewhere. Making life as manageable as possible is an important part of this but so is ensuring that people can maximise their lifestyle as much as possible.
We all (probably) know about free bus passes, free television licenses and the winter fuel allowance, even though the goal posts for some of these may change semi regularly but here are a few you may not be aware of!
Discounted and Free Travel
Taking the notion of the free bus pass one step further here, many of the country’s rail companies offer a 65+ Railcard. Roughly averaging a 30% discount on all rail journeys, these railcards enable older people to still be mobile nationwide to take full advantage of visiting relatives, going to events or taking UK holidays without the stress of having to drive. Depending on the time of year, the discounts can fluctuate and you may need to keep an eye on things like peak travel times but on the whole, spending £30 for a one year railcard means you can take full advantage of discounts. It’s a small price to pay and you make your money back from it in just a couple of short journeys. One Signature employee’s grandparent who takes regular train journeys puts the saved funds into a jar until they have enough to go out for a fancy dinner!
Some of these railcards can also accumulate points for you to use on longer journeys or put towards events. Spend X amount on a railcard and a ticket and you could get X amount off of a London show, for example.
Free Eye Tests
This is one I wasn’t aware of previously but if you’re over the age of 60 you’re entitled to free eye tests! Make sure to take advantage of this one next time you need a new pair of specs!
This is a bit more of a niche one but if you’re in a position where you are responsible for the care of an elderly relative or spouse then you may be able to claim carer’s allowance. It values out at £66.15 per week that is paid monthly. If you spend a certain amount of hours weekly caring for someone, whether you live with them or not, then you can look into claiming this allowance. Often it is aimed at the sons and daughters parents now getting older but there are numerous cases of a spouse, friend or other sort of relation caring for someone part time throughout the week. The likelihood is that these people in need of such care are still largely self-sufficient and the time to move into full-time care hasn’t arrived yet. This is a good way of easing the transition into full-time care and getting something to cover your expenses or simply take the person in question out for a nice meal.
Whatever your situation is, no-one will turn down £264.60 per month for doing something you would be doing for free anyway.
All of us have a favourite supermarket, coffee shops, cinemas or other such places in our life so look into loyalty cards or membership cards for these. Hundreds of major companies have 65+ reward schemes for happy customers that can reap you all sorts of benefits. Similarly to what we discussed earlier with the railcard, loyalty and membership cards can provide goodies that are beyond the usual groceries or services provided by that company.
For example, a number of cinemas up and down the country have an older person’s film club where a small fee is paid monthly and you can watch all the movies you want, gain points on your membership towards other events at the cinema or even free teas, coffees or other stuff in shops in the area. Waitrose gives a free cup of coffee to members, Tesco has a reward scheme for 65+ clubcard holders and local museums, galleries and clubs often have members sections for older people, where the rewards and benefits go well beyond the basic service provided by that place.
Keep a close eye on your community notice boards too as there are often tricks, treats and perks put up there for older people’s generation. I saw one recently where, as a pensioner, you could answer one 5-minute survey once a week for three months then get a free week’s shopping and tank of petrol! More often than not these are marketing schemes by local businesses, charities or organisations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of what they’re offering.
Free events come under this bracket too such as a free 5-session older person’s yoga trial course with tea and biscuits social after that local gyms sometimes offer. These are varied and inconsistent to find but well worth keeping an eye out for!
After a lifetime of paying taxes, national service and voting in elections, the benefits that older people can take advantage of are varied and deserved. Some to make your life easier, some to enrich it as much as possible. The only difficulty is finding them – more often than not but they are there and are just waiting to be taken advantage of!
Find out more about Signature’s lifestyle benefits here.
By Guy Bezant, Signature Content Contributor