What a computer really means to me – Part II
I hope you all had a good week. Last time I touched on some telephony aids. I would like to touch on telephony aids a little more and then some other medical assist services via the PC.
CPR Call Blocker
One piece of kit I could not cope without is my CPR Call Blocker. Whilst there are cheaper brands on the market it is worth noting that the CPR call blocker is the only call blocker approved by all of the UK’s police forces. It is simple to install and already pre-programmed to stop a lot of the known main nuisance calls from getting through to you. Additional numbers can be blocked whilst the call is on the line by simply pressing the Block Now button, or after the call is terminated by inputting the code to block the last number who called you. You have the option to block overseas calls (no more automated cold calling in the middle of the night from overseas call centres or fax machines on a looped re-dial), and withheld numbers etc. The latest model features an onscreen caller I.D. display (great if your telephones do not have that already). The caller ID inbuilt model is a little pricy but often you can get a reconditioned model with full warranty direct from CPR or one of their approved outlets. The latest addition to the range is designed for vulnerable disabled adults which can be programmed to let ONLY approved numbers (such as family, friends, doctor, hospital, dentist, etc.) through to the line and no-one else.
Generally, I recommend the CPR call blockers as opposed to the range of telephones with the facility built-in because the storage facility on the CPR stand-alone units for blocking numbers is far higher than the built-in storage facility on most of the telephones versions, plus the call blocker as an add-on can be used with your existing phones. If you have a set of dect phones they work through them by installing a CPR call blocker to the main phone. They do need caller display from your service provider to function and with the disability/low income ‘basic’ line rental from BT this comes as standard free for the first year.
However, if you are in the market for new handsets then its worth looking at the new generation of BT phones with the advanced built-in call blocker.
Emergency call telephone
If you live alone and do not have a telecare system installed a cheaper option is to purchase an emergency call telephone. If you had a fall they are pre-programmed to dial your chosen numbers (family, friends, doctor etc.) to alert someone to the fact you need help. This is just one example of the type of telephone, there are more on the market. I find Amazon a good place to source all sorts of medical aids reasonably that you might need but not had provided by your local authority.
If you live rurally and do not have a carer or family close-by to help the Red Cross in many areas of the British Isles operate a village warden volunteer scheme where someone can pop in once a week to get shopping, tea and a chat, collect prescriptions, walk the dog etc.
Incidentally, if you are thinking of replacing your dect phones at some point, its worth asking your service provider beforehand if they offer free phone socket fitting for disabled customers. Whilst with dect phones you can have up to 6 around your home you can only have 3 corded phones plugged in at any given time but a former service provider of mine came and fitted F.O.C a socket into every room so I could move my 3 corded telephones around for easy access. (BT do not offer this) Also, due to power cuts its worth looking at the new combo phone sets which have a main corded telephone (with or without answerphone) that works in conjunction with the matching purchase option of between 1-6 dect phones. Many of the latest dect phones also have an option to silence calls (excluding emergency calls from family etc) between your chosen hours of the night so you can ensure an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
Most utility service providers have a care line/priority service especially for repairs for vulnerable and or disabled persons so its worth enquiring as for most you do have to apply, inclusion is not automatic. For many services they offer paper free billing and you can request for any correspondence they do send to be in a larger typeface, on coloured paper or even on a recorded format (such as for reading on a daisy reader) if possible. Many companies offer a discount for paper-free billing and also if you choose to pay by direct debit. Where direct debit is optional (without a discount attached) I prefer to pay electronically via my bank as it gives you more control. (More about PC banking in an upcoming blog).
Incidentally the Open University can send copies of all your coursework on recorded format and even loan you a daisy reader if you do not have one of your own when studying, one of many aids to assist and enable disabled student studying. As unwell as I am, I absolutely loved my time there and found it so very rewarding. As a disabled person I’d always discounted the possibility of such study and was delighted and amazed to learn just how much they have in place to mentor and aid disabled and vulnerable students.
Nuisance calls/junk mail/faxes?
You can register your telephone and fax and postal address online to limit the amount. It stops your details being able to be sold onto marketing companies who spend a fortune buying lists of names and addresses. This is the link for Telephone Preference Service. Once registered (you activate registration via an email link they send you) if you scroll down the home page at the bottom left under Other Services there is MPS and FPS for fax and mail (along with a few other useful options). * Please note it takes up to 28 days to be operational and you do have to re-register every 12 months. It won’t necessarily cut out all the junk and cold calls, but a great deal of them so well worth utilising this free service.
If you are having nuisance calls its worth speaking to your service provider because they have a dedicated nuisance calls department and can even – free of charge to yourself – change your number if needs be. You can arrange for them to make you ex-directory, place your new number onto TPS for you, and place number withheld dialling on your line if you request it. Incidentally, if you are a female living alone they recommend not using the Miss or Ms prefix on your phone directory entry (if you choose to be listed). Annoyingly, I’ve noted that the vast majority of companies online when you are registering an account with them insist on knowing your prefix but some allow you to omit it.
I once had a BT new line fitted and they forgot to confirm the new number to me before the Open Reach engineer left. This precipitated an asthma attack brought on by panic. I have since learned (that with BT lines at least) you can check the number of any line by dialling 17070 and a recorded message states to you the telephone number affixed to that line.
Doctors, Opticians and Prescription delivery
As well as Doctor, out-of-hours Doctor, District Nurse home visits most local authorities also have domiciliary dental visitations – although of course the services they can offer at home are more limited. Your local health authority will be able to tell you about dental access in your district.
Domiciliary opticians such as Specsavers are excellent and the Outside Clinic offer both domiciliary optical and hearing aid services. As well as my prescribed glasses I also like to have several pairs of readers (& sun readers) dotted around my house for ease of use. My favourite company is Sight Station because monthly (running from the middle of the month to the end of the month) they offer 3 pairs for £25 (A saving of up to £50) plus free delivery also, on their older styles with less available stock. Even within the sale stock there is a very varied choice with lens strength going up to 3.5.
Prescription delivery services – if like me you cannot get to a pharmacy to collect your prescriptions and repeat prescriptions a great service is online prescriptions Once registered (worth ensuring you have a plentiful stock of meds as the initial registration/delivery takes a little longer), all new prescriptions scripts are then sent to Rowland’s from your surgery who then despatch the medicines direct to you 1st class recorded delivery via your postie. For urgent meds such as painkillers/antibiotics etc. you can request the surgery fax it over to Rowland’s for speed. Once they have a list of your regular repeat meds (also any dental ones from your dentist and/or other health care professionals) they then email you monthly to remind you to re-order any you are running low on.
As with the dental, optical services and prescription services check your NHS status because if you are eligible these services can be free to you.
Other Important Information
Most local authorities expect kerbside collection for your refuse collection and recycled waste. Even if you do not live rurally this can be difficult and dangerous if you have any disabilities. However, are you aware your local authority via the Town Hall has a list of ‘at risk’ residents and you can arrange upon registration on the list for your collections to be from your house as opposed to kerbside?
Especially if you live rurally you will be aware of the periodic planned power cuts whilst they trim foliage away from overhead cables – but are you aware that as a disabled person if you rely on medical equipment etc. that is electric you can contact the mains service provider and request a generator to be installed for when they carry out the work? (obviously giving them as much notice as possible to organise this from when you receive the notification letter). These days many of the power companies have larger generators of their own, so don’t need to hire them, and therefore many of your neighbours can also benefit from an undisturbed supply of electricity based on your needs.
More soon……….Take care,
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