Author Archives: Clive Price

Power to people with chronic illness

Knowledge is power. That’s the message from a new resource for people with chronic illness.

The 48-page guide Living Well With Long Term Health Conditions by Independent Age points out that anyone can have a chronic illness – but as we get older they become more common.

LIVE WELL

However, the publication looks at how to live well, how to help yourself, where to look for support, and how to get the most out of medical appointments. The charity spoke to older people about their experiences, and included some of their quotes.

‘All the information is there if you want to find it,’ said one interviewee. ‘It’s online, or it’s in a leaflet, or it’s at your doctor’s. It’s there. You just need to be trained to find it.’

However, the guide warns there are so many possible sources of information, it can be overwhelming trying to find what you need, in the right format, at the right time. If in doubt about any details, Independent Age encourage people to check with their healthcare professionals.

The charity also offers online help for finding reliable information on the internet. In addition, the NHS website has a Health A-Z and Medicines A-Z of information, and lets you find and compare NHS services. There are established charities for a number of health conditions.

FEEL ALIVE

‘I think it’s really important to ask charities what help they can give you,’ said Dorothy, who suffers from diabetes and glaucoma. ‘I have a volunteer visitor from Independent Age who is lovely company. I’m usually on my own so it’s nice to have someone to chat with. It makes me feel alive!’

The booklet highlights the importance of talking to someone. ‘Living well with a long-term condition is about finding ways to manage conditions rather than cure them,’ said the guide.

How to stay safe at home

Free resources from two leading charities show how you can keep out of harm’s way at home.

Published this month (April) by Independent Age, Home Safety is a 52-page guide that helps the reader to avoid accidents around their house or flat.

The publication shows people how they can keep themselves from harm by being aware of danger areas and unsafe habits.

Readers can identify some common hazards in their home and get advice on such issues as:

• avoiding falls;
• fire protection;
• electrical safety;
• gas, oil and solid fuel;
• staying safe in the kitchen;
• food safety;
• avoiding floods and scalds;
• managing your medication.

The other resource is Safe At Home: Tips For The Over 65s by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. This 12-page guide offers information on how to cope with the most common accidents around the home:

• how to prevent falls;
• what to do if you’re hurt;
• how to get up after a fall;
• preventing fires;
• how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning;
• preventing scalds and burns;
• avoiding hypothermia;
• home safety checklist.

According to RoSPA, more accidents happen at home than anywhere else. People over 65 – particularly those over 75 – are among those most likely to have an accident at home.

Improved living standards, better healthcare, greater awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and taking regular exercise have led to more and more people enjoying life into their 80s and 90s.

But older people, in particular the frail elderly, are one of the groups of our population most vulnerable to accidents, particularly in and around the home.

Many accidents are attributable wholly or in part to frailty and failing health, said RoSPA. This can lead to failure or slowness to see and avoid risks. By drawing attention to danger spots and unsafe habits, then accidents can be reduced. (Main photo: RoSPA)

Play your part in a season of change

Do you want to grow personally and professionally?

A vacancy has arisen at the Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society to support the CEO as Executive Assistant.

This part-time post (four days a week) offers a competitive salary, excellent benefits – and opportunities to learn new skills.

RESIDENTS’ WELLBEING

MMHS provides for c770 retired Methodist Ministers and their dependants who reside in our properties.  

We also support our residents’ wellbeing so they can keep their independence and mobility for as long as possible.

We’re going through a season of significant change. The EA will play an important part in helping us reach our goals so they’ll need to be flexible, innovative – and enjoy making a difference for good. For more details, click here. (Photo: Clive Price)

Home in on independence

What help do you need to stay independent at home? Do you need to adapt your house or flat to make it more suitable? Do you simply need a hand with the garden?

These important aspects of wellbeing are part of the Society’s work in caring for our residents. We also keep you informed about other useful sources for further help.

FREE GUIDE

Independent Age have published a free guide called Getting Help At Home. This 40-page publication (cover image pictured) offers advice on a range of issues, such as:

  • getting help with household chores;
  • equipment and adaptations;
  • gadgets to make you feel safer;
  • staying connected at home;
  • extra money if you need help to look after yourself;
  • home from hospital help.

 

Everyone needs different types of help, the book advises. To prove it, a number of people share their experiences through the pages. ‘Housework and going to the laundrette were really taking it out of me because of my angina,’ said one contributor. ‘Now a friendly woman comes four hours a week and finishes jobs that took me three days! My flat is clean as a new pin and even my shirts get ironed.’

Another contributor said, ‘I get dizzy if I stand for too long and it made me anxious about taking a shower. The social services sent an occupational therapist to see me. She was lovely. She arranged for a grab rail to be fitted on the wall of my shower cubicle, and a folding shower seat to the side’.

SMALL CHANGES

There’s a range of services, gadgets and equipment from which you might benefit. According to Independent Age, even small changes can make life easier, and you might qualify for some help to pay for what you need.

The guide can be downloaded here. Advice applies to England only. Independent Age have a few suggestions if you are looking for advice specific to other parts of the UK.

 

How to add life to your years

If life is a journey, how do we enjoy every step? Business and life coach Marian Byrne addresses that in Adding Life To Your Years (Veritas).

The author doesn’t promise to change our lives. But her book offers to be the start of ‘improving your experience of the one you have’. Marian Byrne (pictured) shares simple ways of changing our mindset.

THINGS TO DO

There are three themes – self-awareness, self-acceptance and movement. The aim is to start where we are and work with what we’ve got and with what is within our control. ‘Little things…can lead to big changes,’ says the author.

Each of the 26 sections starts with a short insight into such areas as – gratitude, wealth, stress, listening, mindfulness, memories, music – and even hugging! They are followed by snappy lists of practical things to do.

You may have read some of these ideas before in other self-help books – reviewing your first thought of the day; spring cleaning your home; our relationship with money; listening as a gateway to connect with others; changing your body language. Like other similar works, it’s a broad look at life’s challenges and opportunities.

Marian Byrne encourages such positive life steps as – being a ‘deliberate creator’ in our lives; thinking of the legacy we want to leave behind; having the ability to grow, develop and change; looking for opportunities to give time or money to others; and listening to people in a deeper way.

KEEP A JOURNAL

‘We are what we repeatedly do’ is a key message at the heart of this book. The hope is that applying some of the information can interrupt old habits and introduce more useful ones.

Of course, this book may not be our ultimate answer. But like other publications of a similar nature, it offers insights and ideas to get some work done. For reading this kind of title, it’s helpful to have a notebook to hand, to keep a journal of your experiences.

Lister’s liturgy for life

His surname sounds almost like a famous Hungarian composer. So maybe it’s expected that MMHS resident and Board member Revd Glynn Lister would be a most musical fellow.

He is a key part of the team behind our 70th anniversary worship resource. Glynn compiled the act of worship and thanksgiving – ‘to produce something simple and accessible’.

WORLD CUP

Brought up in a Methodist family in Swindon, Glynn became a local preacher just after his 17th birthday. He was studying accountancy but became convinced of ‘a call to ordained ministry’.

He offered as a candidate in 1965 and trained at Didsbury College, Bristol. Glynn married Margaret, a teacher, in 1966. ‘We moved the date to avoid the World Cup final,’ he smiled.

Happy for Methodism to ‘send me wherever’, Glynn took on various roles including chaplain to a hospital and an army camp. He also became a magistrate in 1983.

Glynn retired in 2006 and moved with Margaret into an MMHS property in north-east England. ‘The society was good,’ said Glynn, ‘we found a house and we’ve been extremely happy here ever since.’

He joined the Board in 2016. ‘I hope I understand what is important to residents,’ he said. Retirement brings more opportunities.

RUGBY FAN

Glynn often leads worship on Sundays, is a church treasurer, sings in a male voice choir, plays the bassoon and is a rugby fan. ‘I watch Newcastle Falcons and England home and sometimes away,’ he said.

So how would he advise those writing their own worship material? Glynn’s response paints the picture of a worshipping community. ‘Look for it to be simple and focused,’ he said, ‘with each part adding to the rest and making a whole.’

Designed by Lindisfarne Scriptorium, our 70th anniversary worship resource is still available as a free download here. The full version of Glynn’s story can be found in the Winter 2018 edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots. (Photo: Clive Price)

WINTER 2018

Christmas is coming – which means the winter edition of Roof ‘n’ Roots is here! We’re rounding off our eventful 70th anniversary year with reading material designed to inform, encourage and inspire you. 

Here’s a look at some of the content:

  • how David and Joyce Millington hosted an MMHS birthday service;
  • meet the man who crafted worship materials for our anniversary year;
  • an MMHS resident shares healing hope for people struggling with depression;
  • latest update on our recent residents’ survey;
  • how a Methodist civil rights hero rocked the new Doctor Who series.

Carers have their day

‘Caring For Your Future’ is the theme for Carers Rights Day on 30th November.

Behind the event is national charity Carers UK, who are focusing on supporting people to prepare for the future. That’s because every day 6,000 people become carers – but often it’s not something they planned for.

GROWING MOVEMENT

Each year Carers Rights Day brings organisations together to help carers in their local community know their rights – and find out how to get support.

Supported by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition and Specsavers, Carers Rights Day will see hundreds of organisations holding events to help carers in their community.

Caring is a growing movement. Carers UK say in the last decade, the number of people in Britain estimated to be caring for a sick or disabled partner, child or elderly relative, has gone up by at least a million, to 7.6 million.

Analysis by the Social Market Foundation says family carers are providing 149 million hours of care every week – equal to the work of four million full-time care workers. Research from the University of Leeds and Carers UK suggests informal carers are saving £132 billion a year that would otherwise be a cost to the NHS and Social Services.

Some carers have to give up working. Many struggle with poverty and social isolation, as well as their caring responsibilities. One in five have such financial problems, they even cut down on food. Yet an estimated £16.6 billion in benefits is unclaimed every year. Carers UK say four out of ten carers don’t know about such support, so don’t claim it.

HELPFUL ARTICLES

Carers UK have published a new edition of their guide Looking After Someone which outlines carers’ rights and gives an overview of support available. You can download it for free at – https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-resources/looking-after-someone. You can get a printed copy by calling their telephone helpline on 0808 808 7777.

Independent Living have a range of helpful articles for carers. These can be found at – https://www.independentliving.co.uk/advice/resources-for-carers.

New number for gas repairs

A new phone number for all your gas repairs has been issued by British Gas.

0333 202 9797 replaces the existing one for gas call-outs that has featured on our website and in the Tenants’ Handbook. And it remains a 24-hour line.

We have a contract with British Gas to carry out such essential tasks as safety checks and boiler servicing. It is also an unlimited calls contract, so please report any problems directly to British Gas on 0333 202 9797 and they will send an engineer.

According to Ofcom, calls to 03 numbers cost no more than calls to geographic numbers (01 or 02) and must be included in inclusive minutes and discount schemes in the same way. Calls from landlines and mobiles are included in free call packages. (Photo: British Gas)

Autumn focus on Alzheimer’s

Former Southampton GP Jennifer Bute was shocked when patients started kissing her. Later she realised the patient who’d hugged her was a friend.

‘Soon after, I wouldn’t recognise people I had known for 20 years,’ she said, ‘then I started getting lost along familiar routes. That was kind of how it all started.’

JOURNEY OF HOPE

Dr Bute (pictured) is now one of 50 million people in the world with dementia. With a vibrant Christian faith, she has written a book Dementia From The Inside: A Doctor’s Personal Journey Of Hope – and gives talks about her experiences.

She regards dementia as ‘a God-given unexpected gift’ and even ‘a glorious opportunity’ – which is the name of her website – to understand this global, hurting community.

Dr Bute’s story is shared in the World Alzheimer Report 2018, published recently by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) on World Alzheimer’s Day, 21st September.

ADI hope their report will increase awareness and spark a debate which will lead to more governments and businesses dedicating funds and focus to help people with dementia – and their families – live better lives.

September was World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign that raises awareness and challenges the stigma surrounding dementia. There are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia – yet many people have little or no understanding of the illness.

HELP AVAILABLE

Independent Age have published a useful factsheet called Living With Dementia that looks at the different types of dementia and the help that’s available.

Being diagnosed with dementia can come as a shock and can be very distressing for people as well as their families. Independent Age hope their factsheet will help people understand what dementia is and where to get support.