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As you get older your health may change, and with it your care needs. Being prepared can help you deal with changes in your health, get the right care and know your rights when you do need healthcare or extra help to stay independent in your home.

If you need help with your health, it's good to know what support and care you can get from the NHS. It's also useful to know your healthcare rights and how to prepare for any hospital stays.

If you have a long-term health condition, there are things you can do and support you can get to help your day-to-day life. Find out more on how to live well and manage your condition.

Just like your physical health, your mental health can change as you get older. But mental health problems aren’t an inevitable part of getting older. If you or a loved one are suffering, you can get support and there are things you can do to help yourself.

If you need extra help with your care, you can ask for a care needs assessment from your local council. They will work out what help you need and how they can support you – for example, by providing disability equipment or arranging visits from care workers.

There's plenty of equipment and aids you can get to help make life easier, such as home adaptations, smart devices and assistive technology.

If you experience problems with your care, you can take action to put things right and protect yourself. 

Choosing a care home and working out how to pay for it can be complex. If you're considering a move to a care home, make sure you have as much information as possible about what to look for, where to look and how to make the move as easy as possible.

If you're working out how to pay for care, make sure you’ve considered all your options. Start by getting a care needs assessment from your local council to get expert advice on the care you need.

Future planning: Managing my affairs

Read how to prepare for someone to make decisions for you because of ill health.