There’s no reason why diabetes should stop you from moving away from home. It’s just one more thing you’ll have to deal with on your own.
Here you will get top tips for moving out, looking after yourself as well as information on the benefits system and insurance.
Before you make the move it is worth thinking about some of the following things:
• How much do you rely on your family when it comes to diabetes?
• What things would you have to take on yourself if you moved out?
• Could you handle it on top of the other things you would be dealing with such as bills, cleaning, study, and work?
As exciting as it is for you, it is natural for your family to be worried about you living away from home because of your diabetes.
The things that will probably worry your family most are:
• You having a hypo.
• You having to cook for yourself.
Neither of these should be a problem if:
• You tell the people you are around a lot, flatmates, workmates etc, that you have diabetes and how to help you if you need it
• You know how to cook the basics to keep healthy.
If you are moving to a new area then you will need to register with a GP before you move or as soon as you can after you move.
Your medical records will take some time to arrive at your new surgery so you should:
• Ask for their advice in taking you on as a patient during this period.
• Make sure you have supplies of insulin and testing strips before you move away from home.
You will also need to find out about the hospital Diabetes Centre in the new area and whether you will need to be referred to this hospital.
All prescriptions are free for people living in Scotland.
Mighty DUK’s Top Tips for leaving home
• Try and be as organised as possible. Let your mum help you if she wants to!
• Make sure you keep a note of when you need to order prescriptions.
• Always keep spare hypo stuff wherever your new residence is.
• Take things one step at a time and be organised! Don't put too much pressure on yourself, it's a big step for anyone to make and lifestyle changes can also mean changes in our diabetes.
• Talk to your DSN beforehand as they can give you a bit of advice about going it alone
It takes motivation to start preparing a meal at the end of the day, especially if you are just cooking for yourself. But it’s important to have regular meals and something to eat before you go to bed. See section on food for some ideas.
Make sure you always have snacks available in your house in case you need a quick carb top up e.g. fruit, biscuits, milk, cereal, crisps.
Mighty DUK's Top Tips for food shopping
• One big weekly shop at your supermarket will work out cheaper than lots of single trips to the local shops over the week.
• Bread, cereals, pasta and potatoes are relatively cheap and filling.
• Look out for supermarket ‘own brands’ and in-house specials.
• Some supermarkets sell produce at reduced prices near the day end (but always check the sell-by date).
• Market stalls are cheaper for fish, eggs, fruit and veg.
• Buy some foods in bulk, such as pasta, potatoes, rice, dried beans and pulses.
• Frozen veg and tinned fruit are useful if you find fresh ones go off before you use them.
• Beans and pulses are cheap, filling and as nutritious as meat or fish – they take more imagination to cook with, but it’s worth it.
The Benefits System
Apart from free prescriptions and free eye examinations, most people who have diabetes are not entitled to additional welfare benefits. However, some people with diabetes may be eligible for benefits, depending on the effect that the condition has on their lives.
The main groups that are likely to qualify for welfare benefits are children, the elderly, those with learning disabilities or mental health problems, and those with diabetic complications.
Disability benefits are mainly for people who need help in their daily lives, while employment and support allowance are for people who are not fit to work.
The Government has proposed to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a new benefit, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This change to the DLA and new individual assessment is part of the government’s welfare reform proposed to commence in 2014.
Benefits for Students
If you’re going to college or university there are Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) available that might be able to help you.
This doesn’t mean that people with diabetes regard themselves as disabled it just means that they are protected under the Disability Discrimination Act. So you may be able to get extra money to pay for, say, a fridge to store your insulin while you are at university.
Students with diabetes won’t always get a DSA, but there’s no harm in applying. Contact the student welfare adviser who will tell you if you are eligible.
Your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau can check whether you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to and can help with filling in the forms.
You can get information on the types of benefits available by calling your local benefits enquiry line, or the Disability Benefits enquiry line on freephone 0800 882 200.
you can also get more information from the Department of Work and Pensions at www.dwp.gov.uk
One of the other things that you might want to think about when you move out is insurance.
Why do I need insurance?
Insurance gives you financial protection and peace of mind if something unexpected happens like a leak in your house; your possessions being stolen; damage to your car; problems while you are on holiday etc.
What types of insurance do I need to get?
There are lots of different types of insurance. What insurance you need will depend on your personal circumstances. Here are just some of the types available:
• Contents insurance
• Travel insurance
• Motor insurance
• Life assurance, critical illness, income replacement and mortgages
• Payment Protection Insurance
Is it harder to get insurance because I have diabetes?
People with diabetes are able to get most types of everyday insurance such as contents insurance, motor insurance, travel insurance etc. However, some people with diabetes have found it difficult to get things like life cover and critical illness benefit.
Mighty DUK's Top Tips for insurance
• Always get more than one quote for whichever type of insurance you need.
• Don’t buy insurance because it is the cheapest, buy the cover you need.
• Always tell your insurance company about your diabetes even if they don’t ask –you don’t want a claim rejected simply because you didn’t tell them you had diabetes.
• If you think that your insurance company is discriminating against you because of your diabetes, then challenge what they are telling you. If you are still not satisfied, switch to another company.
• If you want to take out life insurance, it is best to do this while you are young.
For further information on the different types of insurance you can go to the Diabetes UK website: www.diabetes.org.uk or call Diabetes UK Insurance on 0800 731 7431.