Disabled widower, 52, reveals he washes himself with a damp rag instead of showering and lives in darkness as he desperately tries to cut down on bills during the cost of living crisis
- Jason Alcock can only afford to heat one room and is living in darkness
- The 52-year-old from Shelton has autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder and PTSD
- He finds it difficult to leave his home and requires technology to communicate
- Due to the financial crisis, he has been forced to sell his late wife’s belongings
A disabled man from Stoke-on-Trent has told how he has stopped showering as the cost of living continues to bite. Cash-strapped Jason Alcock can only afford to heat one room and is living in darkness this winter to try to combat his rising bills.
The 52-year-old, from Shelton, lives with autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder and PTSD and finds it difficult to leave his home and interact with others. Instead, he relies on technology to communicate.
It means he is unable to find work and he is left struggling to survive on his Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and a severe disability premium.
With the price of everyday goods rising at levels unmatched in 40 years, he is faced with making difficult decisions.
Cash-strapped Jason Alcock can only afford to heat one room and is living in darkness this winter to try to combat his rising bills
The 52-year-old, from Shelton, lives with autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder and PTSD and finds it difficult to leave his home and interact with others. Instead, he relies on technology to communicate
His wife Paola died in 2018 after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and earlier this year Jason was forced to raise funds by selling the treasured items she left behind.
He is one of the growing number of victims of the cost of living crisis affecting people across the nation, with prices outstripping wage and benefit increases.
Jason said: ‘I’m wearing a lot more clothes in the house then I normally would. I’m wearing my outdoor clothes inside.
‘I’m also spending most of my time upstairs because heat rises. I heat one room upstairs and I’m in there most of the time with the doors shut.
‘I’ve had the radiators on low in the other rooms just so it doesn’t go damp, because if the temperature goes below 14C you can get problems.
‘I’m not showering at the moment. I’m just wiping myself with a damp rag if I need to. I’m wearing clothes five days at a time because I can’t afford the cost of the electricity.
His wife Paola died in 2018 after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and earlier this year Jason was forced to raise funds by selling the treasured items she left behind
‘I’ve put thick blankets on top of the duvet on my bed upstairs and I got to bed at 8pm. I watch TV in my bed because it’s cheaper and I don’t need to have the heating on.
‘My house temperature is about 19C, just on the edge of it being too cold.
‘The cost of living for food has also gone through the roof. With my disability payment I can just about feed myself and my dogs.
‘My food shop used to be about £60 every two weeks, now it’s £120 every two weeks. It’s doubled. I used to be able to get a 2kg bag of rice for 90p, now it’s £2.95.
‘A few years ago I used to spend £30 on electric and £30 on gas a month, now I’m spending £75 a month on each.
‘I’ve never seen it like this. Even on disability I’ve never had to worry about turning the lights on. My living room is basically not used and I’ve shut the TV and everything down in there.’
Jason cared for his wife Paola at their home before her death but he says this year is the first time in his life that he’s felt glad that she’s not here to see the current cost-of-living crisis. He said: ‘I was on my computer and I had to stop because my hands were so cold that I couldn’t use the keyboard.
‘I’ve never been in this situation before. My wife was disabled and I looked after her until she died in 2018.
‘Seeing all these things happening, I’m glad she isn’t still around as we had to keep the house at 24C for her all the time because of her condition as she was cold even in the summer. It’s the first time in my life I’m glad she isn’t here to see this and that’s sad.
‘I always wanted children, but I’m glad I haven’t got children now with all that’s going on.’
Jason bought a small frozen chicken and spent Christmas Day alone at home with his dogs. But he worries some people won’t survive this winter.
He added: ‘I think people are going to die this winter. People aren’t putting the heating on and not eating enough. It won’t just be older people; it will be mothers and fathers who decide not to eat so their children can. I think we’re going to lose a lot of people in Stoke-on-Trent.’
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