LIVING WITH LONG-TERM HEALTH CONDITIONS

GET THE SUPPORT YOU NEED

For those living with a long-term condition that is impacts your health and well-being, we understand how difficult life can be at times.  Complex conditions now so common for older people, like dementia and Parkinson’s that impact your physical and mental health can vary in severity and affect people differently.

At  Oxford Aunts we have been providing specialist care and support to those living with complex conditions for over 50 years and know how important it is for families to have the support they need, not just in terms of their care needs, but for the emotional and psychological effects many experience.  Family and loved ones of course play a significant role, but there are lots of leading charities and support networks that can offer specific information, guidance and support for those living with long-term conditions that affect older people.

Here we explain what support is available.

DEMENTIA

Dementia is the umbrella term for a number of conditions that affect the brain.  The brain is made up of nerve cells that are used to communicate messages and dementia gradually impacts their ability to do so.  More than 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK today and as our elderly are living longer this is expected to increase significantly, meaning more and more families are going to need increasing levels of care and support.

Dementia UK offers information and practical advice about dementia. They also offer specialist dementia nurses called Admiral Nurses, who provide emotional and psychological support to those living with dementia and their families.   Alzheimer’s Society provides a helpline (0333 150 34560) and an online forum, as well as providing local community-based schemes, such as Dementia cafes and befriending schemes which families find useful.

CANCER

Sadly, one in two people will develop a form of cancer in their lifetime and there are currently more than 200 different types.  Living with, or surviving cancer can lead to feelings of loss, depression and anxiety all of which impact our overall well-being.

Macmillan Cancer Support is the leading cancer charity in the UK who offer advice about managing symptoms effectively, cancer treatments that are available and support people to cope with living with cancer, in particular the emotional and practical issues, like maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Similarly, to Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurses, Macmillan provide Macmillan Nurses.  They offer community support local to you, so you do not feel alone on your cancer journey and you get the help when you need it.  To contact their support line call 0808 808 00 00.

STROKE

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off and can have catastrophic effects depending in the intensity of the stroke and which part of the brain is affected.  Whilst it affects older people, anyone can have a stroke.  Pre-existing medical conditions and lifestyle factors like drinking, smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes also increase the risk.

Having a stroke can have a significant impact on not just the person who has had the stroke, but their family as many people need on-going care and support.

The Stroke Association is the leading charity in the UK, and you can contact their helpline on 0303 3033 100.  They provide information and advice about local services, rehabilitation and treatment, coping with emotions and how to make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of having another stroke.

DIABETES

There are 3.5 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes and Diabetes UK estimate another 549,000 people are living with it undiagnosed.  There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2 – type 2 is the most common affecting 90% of those diagnosed.  It is a condition that causes too much sugar to be produced in the blood stream, which can be dangerous if untreated.  Symptoms include needing to urinate frequently and feeling tired, hence why many people do not realise they have it.

You can get information, advice and support from Diabetes UK and if you want someone to talk to about your diabetes – you can call them on 0345 123 2399

PARKINSON’S

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement, speech, energy, bladder, eyes and bowels. The disease affects different people in different ways and symptoms and progression vary widely.

Parkinson’s UK is the leading charity in the UK helping people with Parkinson’s.  They provide information and advice about how best to manage the symptoms and can also sign post you to local community services for support.   These services enable you to talk to others in the same situation as yourself.  Contact their helpline on 0808 800 0303.

CONTINENCE ISSUES

Whilst continence issues typically affect older people it is not inevitable that you will get incontinence concerns as you age.  When a person is unable to store urine in the usual way it can cause accidents referred to as incontinence.  It is worth contacting your GP to find out if any other health problems that are causing incontinence in the first instance as these may be able to be treated.

There are ways in which you can improve or mange the condition including exercise, training and continence aids.  A GP can refer you to a continence advisor for this type of advice and support.

The charity that supports those with continence issues in Bladder and Bowel UK.  Contact their medical helpline on 0161 607 8219.  They will provide support and guidance as to which products may also help you.

ARTHRITIS

Ten million people in the UK are living with arthritis, a condition that affects the joints causing discomfort, pain and issues with mobility.  Whilst arthritis can worsen with age it can also affect younger people and gets gradually worse over time. Versus Arthritis is a charity that helps and supports those with the condition.  If you call them, they can provide advice and guidance on a range of treatments to manage pain and cope with the condition.  Call their helpline on 0800 5200 520.

Talk to us about how we can support you and your family – call our dedicated care advisors today on 01865 791107

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