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Free help available – are you living well?
LiveWell Dorset supports you on your journey to a happier, healthier you through FREE advice and coaching. Want to become more active, lose weight, quit smoking or drink less alcohol? Talk to them on 0800 840 1628
My Health My Way is a support service that can help you develop the confidence, knowledge and skills to improve your own health and wellbeing. This is a free local service provided by the NHS.
Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) operate 13 community mental health teams (CMHTs) across Dorset to support people at home and prevent unnecessary admissions into hospital. Their goal is to help people manage, or recover from, their conditions and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
The CMHTs provide care, advice and information for people aged 18 and over with significant mental health problems, including:
If you provide regular and substantial support to someone with mental health problems, as a carer you are entitled to an assessment of your own needs. CMHTs employ carers officers, who can help to arrange this – simply contact the team which is supporting the person you care for. More general information about the support available to carers is available on our carers page.
If you or your loved one would like to see your local CMHT and have not used the service before, please ask your GP – or any other local health/social care professional – to make a referral.
Advice and help for those with sight and/or hearing loss.
Your sight may have deteriorated gradually as part of a long-term health issue or your sight loss may have happened suddenly.
The RNIB have a lot of information about sight loss.
Get advice from an optician as soon as you start to experience changes to your sight, however small.
If you already have sight loss, it's important to look out for signs that your hearing is being affected. Visit your GP if you have any concerns.
The RNIB have a free telephone counselling service for people who have lost or are losing their sight.
The My Guide service run by Guide Dogs is a free service which matches a person living with sight loss to a volunteer. The volunteer is trained in sighted guiding and can help you to leave the house and build up confidence in mobility. Together you will work towards aims of independence, which may be learning the route to your local shop, learning the route to the bus stop and building confidence to use the bus alone. They can even help you to take up a hobby.
The South West Dorset Talking Newspaper provides a weekly dose of local news and a talking magazine, free of charge, to people who are either blind or partially sighted. It serves the Weymouth, Portland, Lyme Regis, Bridport, Dorchester, Sherborne and Blandford areas and has listeners all over Dorset.
Hearing loss often develops with age and can happen over time although sometimes it can occur suddenly.
As soon as you notice any problems with your hearing you should see your GP.
NHS Choices has information about the symptoms and treatment of hearing loss.
If you already have a hearing problem, it is important to look out for signs that your sight is being affected. Visit your GP if you have any concerns.
Action on Hearing Loss provide further information and advice about living with hearing loss.
People are considered deafblind if their combined sight and hearing impairment causes difficulty with:
Visit your GP if you think your hearing and/or eyesight may be changing. It's important to get advice as soon as possible as treatment for some underlying causes of deaf blindness can be more effective if started early.
Equipment is available to help you carry out daily tasks.
The RNIB has advice about equipment to help if you have sight loss.
Action on Hearing Loss has advice about equipment to help if you have hearing loss.
Our libraries offer audiobooks and e-books.
Sight and hearing centres are located across Dorset.
You may want to go to a support group to talk to others with sight and hearing loss. Search our Directory for more information.
Information and support to help you manage your condition.
NHS Choices has information about specific long-term health conditions.
We have information about health condition support groups in our directory.
Dementia is a group of symptoms caused by damage to the brain. Symptoms include memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language.
Being diagnosed with dementia does not mean you have to lose your independence. There are lots of things you can do to help you live safely in your own home for as long as possible.
Alzheimer's Society has more information on the different types of dementia, the symptoms and what to do if you're worried about your memory or worried about someone else's memory. They can also provide information about how to make your home dementia friendly. Sometimes simple changes to your home environment can make things easier, such as having better lighting and labelling cupboards.
Becoming forgetful does not mean that you have dementia, memory loss can be a normal part of ageing or the symptom of a medical condition such as a water infection (UTI). But if you're at all worried about yourself or someone else becoming forgetful or confused, speak to a GP or a Memory Support Advisor. Memory Support and Advisory Service.
NHS Choices has information about what to expect when you see your GP about dementia and how a diagnosis is made.
Equipment can help you to carry out daily tasks such as washing, dressing and eating. Telecare is special equipment that can sense risks such as smoke, floods and gas, can remind you to take pills and even call for help if you fall.
Someone who has dementia may forget to visit the toilet or be unable to communicate their needs. Alzheimer's Society has advice on managing toilet problems and incontinence. Dementia can also make eating and drinking difficult for a number of reasons, including loss of appetite, forgetting to eat and being unable to recognise food. Alzheimer's Society as information and advice on how dementia affects eating and drinking and has practical tips for carers to help support someone to eat and drink well.
Personal care in the home provides options for extra support to help you.
Many people with dementia continue to drive and travel after being diagnosed. Alzheimer's Society has information about driving, including how to inform the DVLA.
Wessex Driveability can help if you would like an assessment to make sure you're okay to drive and that you are still driving safely.
Alzheimer's Society has free 'help cards' for people with dementia. These are cards you can carry with you when you're out and can make it easier to get help. They allow you to record your name and contact details, and the details of someone close to you who can be contacted if you need help.
Community Transport Schemes may help you if you no longer drive and can't use public transport, search the Directory for more information on transport schemes.
Your GP can refer you to the Memory Support and Advisory Service. You can also refer yourself to the service.
Tel: 0300 123 1916
Full contact details for Memory Support and Advisory Service
Turn 2 Us can offer grants to help you towards the costs of essential household items, equipment or training courses.
A personal health budget is an agreed amount of money to pay for your NHS healthcare and support needs. You can use a personal health budget to pay for a wide range of items and services, including therapies, personal care and equipment.
If you use NHS continuing healthcare you could be offered a personal health budget. Speak to your GP or healthcare team if you think a personal health budget might help you.
Reading Well Books on Prescription can help you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using self-help reading. The books are available to borrow from your local library.
NHS continuing healthcare is the name given to care and support which is arranged and paid for by the NHS. It's also known as CHC funding. It's for people who have ongoing healthcare needs and may include social care costs which would normally be paid for by an individual or the council. You can receive NHS continuing healthcare if you are living in your own home or in a care home. It is not available for those in hospital, although it can be applied for during discharge planning.
NHS continuing healthcare is free, unlike support provided by the council, for which a financial charge may be made depending on your income and savings.
If you are eligible for NHS continuing healthcare and you live in your own home, this means that the NHS will pay for your care fees in addition to providing you with a case manager. Care fees can be paid directly or via a Personal Health Budget (PHB), which is similar to a Direct Payment (DP). The NHS may also pay for other care needs such as help with bathing and dressing, food preparation and shopping.
If you live in a care home, NHS continuing healthcare can pay for your care home fees, including board and accommodation.
If you are registered with a Dorset GP surgery, NHS CHC is provided via Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group.
For further information, please see NHS information here.
NHS Choices has information about specific long-term health conditions.
Health A – Z NHS advice
Alzheimer’s disease NHS information
Autism Wessex is a charity that offers free, unbiased information and advice to anyone who needs it. Find out more about Autism Wessex
Blindness and vision loss – NHS information
Dementia – NHS information
Foot problems and the podiatrist NHS information
Hearing loss – NHS information
Learning Disabilities – NHS information
Mental Health support – CMHT (Community Mental Health Team)
Sue Ryder - Information about palliative care
A flu jab protects you, your family and community against flu. Some residents who are at highest risk are eligible for free vaccines.
These include adults over 65; pregnant women; children aged 2 and 3; pupils in reception class and school years 1 to 6; people with long-term health conditions such as asthma; COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and cardiovascular issues; and many health and social care staff.
To get your vaccine, or to find out if you are eligible for a free vaccination, contact your doctor, pharmacist, midwife or school immunisation team.
NHS Health Checks are available for adults who are aged between 40 and 74; have not had an NHS Health Check in the last 5 years; do not have an existing condition (heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease) or had a stroke.
They are designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
To find your nearest or most convenient NHS Health Check provider visit www.publichealthdorset.org.uk/your-health/nhs-health-checks
Your State Pension stays the same no matter how long you are in hospital, but a prolonged stay may affect some benefits you are entitled to.
You should also contact your Area Office that deals with your claims for housing and council tax benefit. In most cases they will reassess your benefit entitlement to take account of your new circumstances.
To find out if any other benefit you are claiming (e.g. Jobseekers allowance) is affected by a stay in hospital or if there are any benefits that you may now be entitled to, contact your local Job Centre Plus.
Whether you are admitted to hospital by appointment or following an accident or emergency, the clinical staff are there to make sure that you are well looked after and that you get the treatment you need.
Where possible, it is worth planning your hospital stay to ensure your home, pets and family members are looked after in your absence. Please read our Information Sheet on ‘Going into hospital and returning home from hospital’.
You may know you are going into hospital or you may be admitted as an emergency. In either case, you should start thinking about what will happen when you leave.
If you do not yet know your discharge date, ask the health staff if they can tell you an estimated discharge date.
Important things for you and your family to consider and arrange before your discharge date:
If you have nobody to help you, let the nursing staff looking after you know about your concerns as soon as possible. With your agreement, and where appropriate, they will refer you to the hospital social work team who can make an assessment of your needs. It is important that you tell them your views and wishes for the future.
If you have someone who helps to look after you, their views, with your permission, will also be considered. They will also have the opportunity to have their own needs assessed through a carer’s assessment.
If you are unable to return home, even with help, health and social care staff will discuss your options with you.
Make sure that you:
You may feel that you are fine to return home but if you get home and find that you are having difficulty coping with tasks around the house or with getting out, you can find a lot of information which can help you in the Information Sheets section.
Carers often worry about what will happen if, at short notice, they are unable to care.
If you need to go into hospital at short notice, do you have a person you trust who has agreed to look after your home and contents while you’re away? Someone like a relative, close friend, neighbour, or the person that holds your Power of Attorney. Sometimes people approach a solicitor or a professional organisation, such as a charity.
Whatever arrangements you make, keep a note of them, including names and contact details, and put them somewhere in your home where they are safe but can be easily found if the need arises. Perhaps inside the front door, or near the telephone or TV.
You may want to consider telling the person you trust about any possessions that are particularly valuable to you, for sentimental or financial reasons, so they can keep an eye on them.
Think about reducing the amount of spare cash you keep in your home and about whether your important documents, such as insurance documents and your Will, are secure, but also accessible in an emergency.
Whenever you go out try to leave your home locked and secure.
If you need to go into hospital and you really have no one who can look after your property, the Council may sometimes be able to help, but it is usually better if you have made the arrangements yourself.
We know how important your pet is to you. They are part of the family. But have you thought about what would happen to them if you became unwell or went into hospital? It is a very good idea to make a plan to ensure your pet is looked after in the event of an emergency.
You may have a relative or close friend who would be happy to look after your pet temporarily, or your Vet of may be able recommend good foster homes.
Whatever arrangements you make, keep a note of them, including names and contact details, and put them somewhere in your home where they can be easily found if the need arises.
Please also keep your pet up to date with vaccinations and treatments.
You may wish to contact a local cattery or kennel to make arrangements for them to stay and should find details of these in the telephone directory or on the internet.
Other sources of help:
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers. You can find PALS officers in your local hospital, or telephone 0800 5874997 or email email@example.com.
Advice and Health information on a range of conditions and treatments can be found on NHS Choices website.
There are ways to learn how to look after your wellbeing. The Five Ways To Wellbeing are based on evidence from across the globe and they are connect with people, be active, take notice of the world around you, keep learning and give such as be kind, smile, volunteer or do something nice for a friend or stranger.
Discover our country parks, our 3,000 miles of rights of way and the spectacular World Heritage Jurassic Coast right on your doorstep.
The Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural World Heritage Site. It has beautiful beaches and breath-taking walks. It is literally a prehistoric world beneath your feet.
Do remember, though, rockfalls and landslides can happen anytime without warning. Stay away from the edge of cliffs, never lie or sit under the cliffs, and always check tide times. Climbing and digging in the cliffs is highly dangerous to you and others around you.
We are lucky in Dorset to have four country parks: Avon Heath and Moors Valley in the east of Dorset, Durlston in Swanage and Hardy’s Birthplace at Thorncombe Woods near Dorchester.
Each one offers a different experience, from dramatic clifftop walks at Durlston to the Gruffalo Trail at Moors Valley. All sites offer Nordic walking, health and wellbeing walks, including dementia-friendly ones, waymarked trails, visitor centres, cafés and shops, picnic areas and tramper hire for people with reduced mobility.
The Silver Line advice and help for older people
Five Ways To Wellbeing - Mind