1. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth Registered User

    Nov 25, 2015
    48
    Good morning. Can anyone offer thoughts help and experience on/about whether a person with dementia/cognitive problems qualifies in your area for a blue badge? It would seem in my county that I am unable to apply because my husband does not have any physical problems, only geographical disorientation. I feel that if we were to have a blue badge to park close to an entrance etc life would be much less stressful in finding a blue car stuck in the middle of many blue cars in a large car park with no obvious landmarks to clock mentally for the return location of the vehicle. My cousin in Cumbria had no difficulty in obtaining one through his GP for his wife with dementia. I have spoken to my GP who says we apply direct to CC but their criteria discriminates us. Be glad of others' views. Thanks
     
  2. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    13,510
    Ireland
    Here, a person needs to be unable to walk more than - I think it's 50 metres - unaided. I got a blue badge for my husband eventually, as his GP realised that unless I was physically leading him along, he would just stop - even in the middle of the road. And also, he couldn't get into or out of the car without my help, so I needed the extra width of the disabled space. The disabled spaces are not, often, closer to the door of shops etc. - but they are wider. Here, you apply directly to the Disabled Driver's Association, who issue the badge, but the form has to be certified by a doctor - and the DDA may have their own doctor verify the claim if there's any doubt.
     
  3. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth Registered User

    Nov 25, 2015
    48
    Thanks

    LadyA, I think this is probably the same all over as I have looked on the download. My husband is still physically fine and part of me thinks we wouldn't want to abuse any system. However, it is worth exploring lots of helpful options that are out there.
     
  4. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,952
    Suffolk
    Age UK sifted OHs blue badge, but he was pretty far gone before we applied. Get in touch with them and see what they can do. As with others, OH couldn't walk very far, needed space to get out of car and most certainly wouldn't stay put at, hospital door, while you went and parked the car! But try Age UK.
     
  5. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    We also got it on the grounds that although mum did have difficulties walking it was the fact that without being with someone she was a danger to herself and others - no road sense and wandering. They give them to children with ADHD and also with Autism who do not have problems walking but are vulnerable around cars and car parks so they should give them to adults with dementia - no contest. Another good place to get help is your local carers organisation who are a mine of information about local rules, local facilities and how to get around things that you need to - definitely worth a call xx
     
  6. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    3,802
    Essex
    Whilst volunteering for Citizen's Advice Bureau, I successfully obtained Blue Badges for several people, with dementia, but this was always supported by a letter from the GP. This would state that the person could not be left, at, say, the hospital entrance, unaccompanied, whilst the driver of the car parked a distance away. They added that the whole process of visiting a strange place was stressful enough, without the person having to walk a distance as well.

    But, and this is the big but, all Local Authorities are autonomous now, and it's a Postcode Lottery - which infuriates me.
     
  7. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    5,080
    North Bucks
    Hello Scarllet
    Your post interests me , because my local authority insist that they no longer have autonomy and have to abide by national & EU instructions
    jimbo
     
  8. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,232
    Female
    The Sweet North
    An agent from Age UK filled in our forms. We didn't need a GP's letter.
    I included a letter from myself, stressing the danger of leaving OH outside the car while I reversed it out when another person has parked too close to the passenger side. Also about needing the extra width of a disabled bay, and that the badge would enable us to continue visiting places for longer. And that he is apt to 'freeze' half way across a busy road or on a car park.
    Do ask Age UK.
     
  9. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,232
    Female
    The Sweet North
    #10 sleepless, Dec 3, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
    Re my post above -- my husband got his blue badge in July of this year, three weeks after sending in the application form etc.
     
  10. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    3,802
    Essex
    Was it Christine Keeler (or Mandy Rice Davies?), who said "well, he would say that, wouldn't he"! ;) You only have to read the variations on TP, of getting funded care, or not, both in ones own home or a Care Home, and how much, or little, to see the differences.

    Or to read this thread, with examples of how some people secured a Blue Badge, without even a GP's letter of recommendation.
     
  11. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    18,934
    Male
    North Manchester
    Re my post above

    http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showthread.php?88017-Blue-badge&p=1203628&viewfull=1#post1203628

    -- my husband got his blue badge in July of this year, three weeks after sending in the application form etc.

    That has to be a discretionary award and this is where the post code lottery comes in.

    My LA very rarely make discretionary awards.

    They are also strict, they do not consider a prosthetic leg to be aid in assessing

    PIP/ Mobility Activities / 2 Moving around / C
    Can stand and then move unaided more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. 8 points.

    A man who lost his leg on active service was refused a Blue Badge renewal.

    As of Nov 2014 the Alzheimer's Society had no intention of campaigning for a cognitive impairment eligibility.

    Hi xxxxx

    Apologies for the delay in responding. I’ve checked with our policy team regarding the position on blue badges and I got the following back.


    1. This is not something we are currently campaigning on nationally as we know there is currently no ministerial commitment to extent the Blue Badge scheme to people with cognitive impairments. There is no indication that there would be a change in policy on this. Although, the Welsh Government have recently extended the scheme.

    2. Local authorities can apply their own criteria to the use of blue badges (e.g. charging for or free parking), so this is probably more of a local issue at the moment.

    3. If we do policy research on transport at some point, this is certainly something we could consider looking into.



    Thanks,

    xxxx


    This is somewhat at variance with their previously published document
    http://alzheimers.org.uk/bluebadgeconsultation of which the writer of the above reply was aware.
     
  12. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,232
    Female
    The Sweet North
    It may well have been a discretionary award, nitram, I can't say. There was nothing sent with the badge to indicate .
    My post was intended to highlight the help that Age UK can give, though I wouldn't be surprised if even that is something of a postcode lottery.
     
  13. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    Nitram does your local authority not give blue badges to parents of children with autism on the grounds that they are a danger to themselves and a danger to traffic and cannot be left unsupervised ? I work with children with disabilities and i have yet to come across a local authority that doesn't. If they do then it would discriminatory for them not to apply the same rule to adults with dementia who are equally potentially a danger to themselves or other road users.

    just a thought
     
  14. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    18,934
    Male
    North Manchester
    "Nitram does your local authority not give blue badges to parents of children with autism on the grounds that they are a danger to themselves and a danger to traffic and cannot be left unsupervised ? "

    If the child is aged 3 or over, potentially making the parent able to apply, all the LA will say is that any discretionary awards will be made on individual merit, however do not accept the argument that adults with dementia cannot be left unattended. They stick rigidly to the government regulation:-

    It is the effect of the permanent disability on your ability to walk that is important.
    Medical conditions such as asthma, autism, psychological/behavioural problems, Crohn’s disease/incontinent conditions and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) are not in themselves a qualification for a badge. People with these conditions may be eligible for a badge under this criterion, but only if they are unable to walk or have very considerable difficulty in walking, in addition to their condition.


    If an adult cannot prove the inability to walk 50 metres their best option is to get a note from the falls clinic certifying that they are at risk of falling.

    Parents with children under 3 are eligible for an automatic award with proof that the following applies:-

    For a child under three who, on account of a condition, must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which cannot be carried around with the child without great difficulty, or who, on account of a condition, must always be kept near a motor vehicle so that, if necessary, treatment for that condition can be given in the vehicle or the child can be taken quickly in a vehicle to a place where such treatment can be given.

    Note that this is distinct from the risk that the child could run off and come to harm.

    On the topic of discrimination some supermarkets have 'mother and child' parking bays positioned so that a traffic lane does not have to be crossed to get to the store entrance whereas this is not the case for their disabled bays.
     
  15. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    5,080
    North Bucks
    On the topic of discrimination some supermarkets have 'mother and child' parking bays positioned so that a traffic lane does not have to be crossed to get to the store entrance whereas this is not the case for their disabled bays.[/QUOTE]
     
  16. Jinx

    Jinx Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    2,333
    Pontypool
    #17 Jinx, Dec 4, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
    Gwyneth, I got a Blue Badge for my husband last year on the grounds of dementia from Torfaen Council (Wales). I had the application supported by our GP although at the time Bernard was still just about able to walk the required steps he wouldn't have had a clue how to find the car again. Soon after that his mobility declined and we needed a wheelchair so I was pleased that we had the blue badge.


    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
     
  17. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth Registered User

    Nov 25, 2015
    48
    Thank you everyone for all your very constructive thoughts. Much appreciated. Gwyneth
     
  18. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    10,650
    North West
    #19 stanleypj, Dec 8, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
    I posted this on a previous thread. It explains how I was advised to work around the online process used by most (all?) LAs which didn't recognise problems apart from the 'walking difficulty' (problems such as PWD not able to be left whilst the driver parks car or gets it out of a tight space):

    I found a page with a helpline number, albeit a 0844 number (more expensive than an 0845 number). The helpline has been outsourced to a private company.

    Phoned anyway and after listening to a considerable number of irrelevant automatic choices got through to a real person. Explained the problem: 'No way of getting past the initial questionnaire unless you have higher rate Disability Living Allowance'. She knew immediately what I was talking about and told me the 'fix'.

    This is it for anyone who is looking for it in future: Click 'other' at bottom of first page checklist. This will take you to second page. Click the second one down whcih refers to difficulty in walking.

    Then you'll eventually be let into the actual application. There is a heavy emphasis on walking in the questions you have to answer and so I used every opportunity I could find to stress that walking unaided my wife was a danger to self and others, couldn't possibly find her way anywhere, is liable trip or topple, has difficulty getting in and out of cars especially where space is restricted......all the points mentioned earlier in the thread.

    I've sent it off now and will post the result when I hear.

    This help page, which contains the phone number, is very off-putting in not mentioning the kind of difficulties that this thread has outlined as requiring a blue badge:


    It worked for us.
     
  19. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    5,080
    North Bucks
    #20 jimbo 111, Dec 9, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
    I have posted this on ‘Dementia Related News and Campaigns’ ,but in view of the interest on parking permits on this thread I thought it would be of interest here
    Rather long winded but relevant
    Jimbo
    Ps Further responses can be viewed on the website below

    : 1 Commons debate :



    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2015-12-08a.966.0&s=dementia#g967.0
    Bob Blackman:


    QUOTE I raise these questions on behalf of the large number of residents who have contacted me about this matter. I hope and trust that we can get some movement on it, so that the genuinely disabled, elderly and frail people of Harrow can have the badges they deserve, and the opportunity to visit shops and other amenities without fear of being penalised in such a way. UNQUOTE

    Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 7:00 pm, 8th December 2015
    I have the privilege of representing the area of London that has the longest-lived people. As we all know, life expectancy increases as one goes up the Jubilee line from east London to north-west London, so the people of Stanmore in particular have the longest lives in London, and I therefore represent many people who apply for, and have, blue badges. The drawback of that is that getting around my constituency is often very difficult for those elderly people on public transport.
    In the past two years alone, 82 residents have come to me with problems related to the system of renewing their blue badges. Every single one of those cases represents someone with a genuine need for a badge due to mobility issues related to age or disabilities. Because Harrow Council has outsourced the process, there is now no oversight and it is very difficult for councillors or for me and my MP colleagues to bring genuine cases forward and complain when an obvious injustice has occurred.
    The current application process is as follows. A resident makes an application to Harrow Council either to renew the blue badge or for a new one, and a decision is made. If refused, there is a right of appeal, but if the resident pursues the appeal process, they often meet with an external company, Access Independent, and undergo a medical and a final binding decision is made. There is no further appeal. If there is another refusal, the resident cannot apply again for a set period of time. This means that disabled people are left high and dry without the ability to put their case forward until they have waited six to nine months before lodging another application.
    When my office submits concerns on behalf of residents, we receive what is frankly a cut-and-paste answer: a one-paragraph, copy-and-paste reply saying basically, “It’s nothing to do with Harrow Council. It is to do with the Department for Transport and the guidelines that are issued. We have outsourced the process of assessing the applications and therefore we can’t do anything about it.” Councillors face the same problem and receive the same messages. That leaves us in the difficult situation of not being able to highlight and resolve these genuine cases where appropriate blue badges should be received.
    The testing and appeal process is usually handled by Access Independent, as I have mentioned. It is an occupational therapy firm based in Cambridge. It operates a cut-throat process. More often than not, no doctor or medical expert is consulted and medical professionals see their diagnoses completely ignored.
    One of the tests is that the applicant is made to walk for as far as possible, either down a hallway or in the main car park. This creates the following problems. Neither of those surfaces is representative of the pavements, roads and so on that people walk down, thus creating an illusion that they can walk fine; they are often walking on imperfect surfaces when they need to park close to facilities, whereas when they are tested they are walking on much better surfaces. Also, the method itself is fairly corrupt. Forcing people with mobility issues to walk as far as possible feels almost like a “Hunger Games” approach to testing eligibility. Often applicants I meet are very proud people who try and walk even when they are in severe pain, and I think that is unfair on them as individuals.
    I have a range of individual cases that I am going to quote to give an illustration of where the system does not seem to work. In all these cases, I have sought and obtained the permission of each of the individuals to quote their details.
    My first example is that of Mrs Suzanne Bard. I believe that the Minister has a copy of the local press coverage of her case. Suzanne lives in Bentley Priory, which was the headquarters of the RAF fighter command during the battle of Britain. The development is nearly a mile away from any form of public transport. She took her case to the Harrow Times, and hers is probably the strongest case I have seen. She is an 83-year-old widow who has held a blue badge since 2006. She suffers from severe arthritis, cervical spondylosis, obliterated joints—on which she has had multiple operations—and depression, and her application included no fewer than eight supporting letters from medical professionals. Mrs Bard witnessed various council officials and contractors completely disregarding advice from the best medical professionals she had been able to identify. The removal of Mrs Bard’s blue badge has effectively left her stranded up in Bentley Priory, which is grossly unfair on this widow.
    I should also like to highlight the case of Joyce Richiardi from Stanmore. She is 93 years old, has a complex medical history and is severely restricted in what she can do without a blue badge. Her GP supported her application, but the case was rejected on the basis that she was deemed not to be “immobile enough”, even though she had previously suffered a heart attack and had two blocked arteries and severe breathing difficulties which restrict how far she can walk.
    A further example is Caterina Gargano, an 80-year-old woman who lives with her husband Giuseppe in Stanmore. She suffers from dementia, with cognitive decline, and chronic lower back pain. She suffers from intermittent confusion as a result of both conditions. Giuseppe struggles to look after her, and Mrs Gargano can walk a maximum of only 20 to 30 metres. My staff have spoken with Giuseppe on numerous occasions and he gets very upset, almost tearful, when he tries to speak about it. The entire affair has angered him immensely, and he has every right to be upset.
    We can draw a number of conclusions from these issues. Yes, there is abuse of the system when people use badges that are not their own, but it is not being carried out by the obviously elderly and frail applicants who need them. It is often carried out by relatives who abuse their position. In tackling the people using blue badges when they have no need of them, the answer cannot be simply to deny them to people with genuine needs. Harrow Council should not be penalising innocent users for the actions of a few.
    I have some questions for the Minister, and I would be pleased if he could answer them in responding to the debate. What changes, if any, have been made to the rules relating to the issue of blue badges that were instituted by the Department, and which Harrow Council may be highlighting? Is the council taking far too restricted a view on who should be eligible for a blue badge? Given that the decision making is outsourced, has the council made the decision making too restrictive? Should there be an appropriate appeals process that involves Harrow Council, rather than the company that it has outsourced decision making to? What consideration should be made of the detailed medical evidence submitted on behalf of applicants, which at present seems to be being completely ignored?
    I raise these questions on behalf of the large number of residents who have contacted me about this matter. I hope and trust that we can get some movement on it, so that the genuinely disabled, elderly and frail people of Harrow can have the badges they deserve, and the opportunity to visit shops and other amenities without fear of being penalised in such a way.
     

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