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.
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.
‘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.