What help can I get?

Long-term health conditions can present all sorts of challenges. As well as coping with the physical demands, you might need financial advice, emotional support or help to manage lifestyle changes.

There are many charities and organisations that can offer support for specific conditions in the form of advice helplines, condition specialists, information resources, online forums, practical aids or just someone to talk to.

Cancer

Surviving or living with cancer can lead to anxiety, depression and feelings of loss. Macmillan Cancer Support offers information and advice about cancer treatments, managing symptoms, coping with emotional and practical issues and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They also provide specialist Macmillan Nurses in hospitals and communities across the UK.

You can get help through their support line 0800 808 00 00 and online forums and they also have local support groups. You can also email the support line if you don’t feel like talking.

Arthritis

Arthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK. It causes pain and stiffness in the joints and can affect mobility. Arthritis Care has a free confidential helpline 0800 800 4050 and also offers information and advice on treatments, managing pain, coping with emotions, exercise and diet.

Stroke

Anyone can have a stroke but certain lifestyle factors and medical conditions can increase the risk:

  • smoking
  • drinking
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes

Having a stroke can have a big impact on you and your family. You can get support from the Stroke Association helpline 0303 3033 100 and online forum. They also provide information and advice about services, rehabilitation and treatment, coping with emotions and how to make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of having another stroke.

Dementia

More than 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK today. Dementia UK offers information and practical advice about dementia. They also offer specialist dementia nurses called Admiral Nurses.

You can also get information and support about any type of dementia from the Alzheimer's Society. They have a helpline 0300 222 1122, an online forum and also offer community based support such as Memory Cafés and befriending schemes.

For more information see our factsheet: Living with dementia

Diabetes

Nearly 3.5 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes. You can get information, advice and support from Diabetes UK and if you want someone to talk to about your diabetes you can call 0345 123 2399.

Parkinson's

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement, speech, energy eyes, bowels and bladder. It affects about 1 in 500 people in the UK. Symptoms and progression of the disease vary from person to person.

You can get information and advice about managing the condition from Parkinson's UK . They have a helpline 0800 800 0303, an online forum and local groups. They also have a peer support service so you can talk to someone who has a similar experience to you.

Continence issues

Incontinence is not an inevitable part of growing older. If you experience it, you should speak to your GP to find out if there is an underlying treatable cause.

You can also ask to be referred to a continence adviser who can give you specific advice about reducing and managing your condition, which might include:

  • treatment
  • exercise
  • training
  • continence aids
  • home adaptations

You can also get information and advice about continence issues from the Bladder and Bowel Community or call their medical helpline 0800 031 5412.

Next steps

The NHS website has a range of information about conditions, treatments, care and support.

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