6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 1
Living life to the full in West Kent
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 2
Thank you for picking up this booklet. It contains information and
contacts within West Kent to help you to enjoy living your life to
the full as you get older. There’s advice and contact details should
you need further support.
Many people find that life gets better as they get older because
y finally have the time to do things they have wanted to do in
the past but were too busy.
A positive attitude to life means taking the time and effort to do
the things y
ou enjoy, keeping as healthy and active as possible and
making the most of what’s on offer.
Older people are staying healthier and more active now. Although
or some this may not be possible, there are still things you can do
to maintain your health and independence and this booklet gives
you helpful ideas and suggestions.
You may want to make the most of leisure activities in your area, plan
a new career, take up a new hobby or study. You could contribute to
the work of the community via Kent Adult Social Ser vices,West Kent
NHS, your local Borough or District Council or voluntar y
organisations. All contact numbers are included in this booklet.
Whether you live in a town, village or a rural setting West Kent is
enriched by a diverse cultural society. It does not need to cost you
money to enjoy the many beautiful parks and gardens that the
public can visit free of charge or places of interest or reference
like your local library.
We hope that you enjoy reading this booklet and find it useful.
e welcome your views, comments and suggestions.
Margaret Howard
Julie Hunt Michael Angell
Director of Commissioning Director of Nursing and Quality Older People’s Champion
and Provision for West Kent NHS W est Kent Kent County Council
Kent Adult Social Services
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:26 Page 3
Keeping healthy and well
A positive attitude - making the most of opportunities
Choosing retirement - doing what you want to do
Lifelong learning - join the learning revolution
Keeping well - a healthy mind and a healthy body
Looking after your health - making you feel better
Alcohol and drugs - useful things to know
Loving in later life - intimate relations
Continence care - effective management
Dealing with life changes
Keeping mentally healthy
- coping with change and new challenges
Dementia - forgetfulness doesn’t necessarily mean dementia
Caring for someone else -
shifting responsibilities and adjusting roles
Coping with loss - your changing emotions
Maintaining independence - dignity and choice
Transport - staying mobile
Financial, legal and housing matters
Looking after your finances
- you’ve worked hard, so make your money
work hard too
Knowing what you’re entitled to - the benefits are out there
Organising your will and legal matters - making your wishes known
Housing matters - living where you want
Keeping safe
Keeping yourself safe
- reducing the risks
Accident prevention at home - including reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls
What to do in an emergency - staying in control
Older people at risk of harm - keeping safe
Useful contacts and information
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 4
Life is what you make it
A positive attitude makes a big difference
There are financial advantages to being over 60
Make the most of the time retirement brings
You’re entitled to have fun!
Use the internet
Winter fuel payments.
Concession schemes.
Assisted transpor t and free bus travel.
What’s on offer
There are plenty of things to do that are free or
cost very little . Your local librar y should have
information about places of interest, events and
groups you might like to join. There are websites
aimed specifically at older people, such as age-net
(see weblinks opposite).
KentARA is an association for any retired or semi-
retired person that lives in Kent. A wide range of
social activities are arranged by the local clubs
across the County (visit www.kentara.co.uk).
Local ser vices
Local organisations, including those which are
culturally specific offer help and advice. If you find
it hard to get out an about or are worried about
meeting new people, local organisations can help.
If you're active and keen to help others,
volunteering can be stimulating and rewarding.
Join your local Older People’s
There are Older People's Forums in Dartford,
Maidstone and Tunbridge W ells and
Neighbourhood Forums in Gravesend. There is
also a Forum planned for Tonbridge and Malling.
Please contact the relevant Borough Council for
further information. Some Councils have residents
panels and Forums that you may like to join or you
may wish to become a member of your Health
Network Group (see contacts). Contribution of
your time, views and ideas greatly help to improve
ser vices, facilities and amenities in your local area.
making the most of oppor tunities
Life is what you make it and it doesn’t have to stop
just because you’re getting older. Think about your
interests and hobbies and plan for your future years.
Visit your local volunteer centre or librar y to find
out what’s going on in your area. There may be
many local events and organisations that you have
not been aware of. Many organisations are looking
for volunteers and suppor t - so get in touch.
If you’ve access to the internet, try visiting
www.do-it.org.uk which is a national database
that allows you to search over 800,000 voluntar y
opportunities from around the UK.
Talk to
Talk to friends and neighbours about what they’ve
found locally. Talk to local organisations and find out
about local day or community centres. There are
organisations that may be seeking volunteers or have
a range of activities for you to par ticipate in.Your
local librar y can also provide more information.
Growing older is inevitable, but your outlook on
life, health and lifestyle can make the difference
between slipping into old age or embracing it and
all it has to offer!
WEBLINKS www.kentconnects.com • www.kentara.co.uk
www.vam-online.org.uk • www.vawk.org.uk
www.age-net.co.uk • www.silversurfers.net
www.u3a.org.uk • www.firststopcareadvice.org.uk
I may be a senior but that
doesn’t mean I have to sit in a
chair all day, staring at the TV.
I like to get out, meet new
people and have a good old chat.
I’d get depressed if I stayed at
home on my own.
Many people find that they finally have the time
to do all of the things they couldn't do in their
younger working days. There’s more time to
enjoy a social life and leisure facilities. Whatever
your interests there will be plenty of activities for
you to join in nearby.
There are many spor ts centres in West Kent. They
provide classes for a wide range of abilities, g yms,
swimming and café facilities. Please contact your
local Council or Gateway for further information.
There are Gateways situated in Maidstone ,
Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. Gateway brings
together County Council, District Council and
other ser vices under one roof from voluntar y
and community groups. Customers can talk to
trained advisors about ser vices from household
recycling and social care to Council tax and
housing benefit enquiries to name a few.
There are beautiful gardens, stately homes,
castles, theatres and cinemas to visit in West
Kent. If you are over 60 you may be eligible for
discounted ticket prices at some attractions.
A positive attitude means making the effor t to do
the things you enjoy, keeping healthy, active and
making the most of opportunitie
The benefits of becoming 60+
There are lots of financial benefits once you
reach 60, depending on your financial status.
Further details can be found in the financial, legal
and housing matters section of this booklet,
these include:
Free prescriptions and eye tests.
An increase in tax allowances (at 65) and other
money benefits.
A positive attitude
A positive attitude
• Kent Connects
01622 694140
• Voluntary Action
West Kent
01892 530330
Community Information
& Libraries
- search for
volunteering or check
out the Community,
Living & Leisure pages
on Council websites
• North West Kent
Council for Voluntar y
Ser vice 01474 354479
• The University of
the Third Age (U3A)
020 8466 6139
• First Stop Advice Line
0800 377 7070
• Maidstone Gateway
01622 602000
• Tunbridge Wells
Gateway 01892 526121
• Tonbridge Gateway
01732 876322
• Health Network
01732 375287
EMAIL civic.engagement@westkentpct.nhs.uk
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 6
Be aware that retirement is a major life change
and may take time to adjust to. Consider the pros
and cons of retiring or whether you can continue
working. It may be possible to reduce your hours
or the amount of responsibility you have in your
current job.
If you are retiring, plan ahead so that you’ve
plenty to keep you occupied. Think long-term and
keep up hobbies and interests that you’ve always
had. Why not tr y something completely new, like
Adult Education, Evening Classes,Amateur
Operatics/Drama etc. Also look at learning
opportunities through the University of the Third
Age (U3A). The U3A is a network for sharing
interests and knowledge .
Talk to
Talk to your employer about retirement plans; ask if
there’s a retirement course and whether it’s
possible to continue working if you wish to do so
or whether flexible retirement options are available .
If you’re interested in volunteering there are
many organisations and websites that can give
advice and information on local, national and even
international schemes.
Suddenly finding yourself with no job and few
plans for how to spend your time can be daunting
and demoralising. Make sure you plan ahead so
retirement is something you look forward to.
WEBLINKS www.ktcr.org.uk • www.vawk.org.uk • www.do-it.org.uk
www.thepensionservice.gov.uk • www.vso.org.uk • www.u3a.org.uk
www.ageconcern.org.uk • www.equalityhumanrights.com
• North West Kent
Council for Voluntar y
01474 354479
• Voluntary Action
West Kent
01892 530330
• The Pension Ser vice
0845 6060265
• Jobcentre Plus
0845 6060234
• The University of
the Third Age (U3A)
020 8466 6139
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
• Equality & Human
Rights Commission
0845 604 6610
Discuss whether there’s a mandator y retirement age at your workplace or
options for flexible retirement
Think about the benefits of retirement
Retirement is a major life change - plan for it
Consider finding a new job - working life doesn’t stop at retirement - you may
wish to seek a new direction to working life
Volunteering - giving some time to help others
home. If you’re currently out of work you can use
volunteering as a stepping stone, gaining work
experience, updating your CV and references.
Voluntary work is ver y flexible and can be
tailored to suit the time you can give . Volunteers
can claim out of pocket expenses that don’t
affect their benefits.
Your local Volunteer Centre will help you identify
the type of volunteering that best suits you so
that you make the most of your volunteering
Alternatively visit www.do-it.org.uk
where you
can explore volunteering opportunities.
Money management
You may wish to seek financial advice about the
options available to you and the implications of
different retirement options.
Information on what’s available to you from the
State, and on financial choices you can make to
prepare for retirement, is available from The
Pension Ser vice (see Contacts). A booklet
‘Pensions: the basics - a guide from the
Government’ is also available from this source .
If you’re a member of a company or private
pension scheme then you can also seek
information from your pension provider about
your pension position when you retire. See
Knowing what you’re entitled to page for further
information on benefits advice.
doing what you want to do
A sudden change to your pattern of life can be
very daunting. Make sure you plan ahead, so that
retirement is something you look forward to. If
you have the choice to continue working or to
retire, there are a few factors you may want to
consider before deciding.
Retirement can be a time of fresh opportunities.
You’ll have more time to spend with your friends
and family. You can pick up old hobbies or take
up new interests. It’s a time when you can finally
relax and do what you really want to do. This can
also be a time of major change in your life - your
income is likely to drop; you and your spouse or
partner may also have to adjust to having more
free time together.
Continuing to work
If you are drawing a pension, you may not want
to give up a job you enjoy. Many companies see
the benefits of having an older workforce. You
may wish to find another job with fewer hours
and less responsibility. There are many
organisations that can give you help and advice.
Voluntar y work
If you devote a little time to helping the local
community you’ll be surprised at the rewards it
can bring.
It doesn’t matter what age you are or whether
you are employed, unemployed, retired or at
Choosing retirement
Choosing retirement
I decided to take early retirement,
and thought I’d try voluntary work
through VSO.
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 8
Don’t let age be a barrier to learning something
new, or taking up an old hobby. Most people find
that the more their days are filled with doing things
that interest them, the more they remain active.
There are many ways to learn. Your local librar y
will have information about local activities and
courses. You can check the West Kent Community
Information Service - either by asking for the hard
copy at your local library or by looking on the
website. You can also check local and national
newspapers. Or log on to the learndirect or BBC
websites for advice on online learning.
Talk to
Phone or visit your local adult education or
community college for advice and information,
or ask at your library or local Council office .
Keeping your mind active can help reduce the risk
of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and
depression, as well as helping you to get out and
about and make new friends.
www.kentadulteducation.co.uk • www.niace .org.uk
www.kent.gov.uk/libs • www.learndirect.co.uk
www.wea.org.uk • www.open.ac .uk • www.bbc .co.uk
The computer course the library
ran was excellent - now I feel confident
e-mailing my grandchildren in Canada.
Just being able to keep in touch more easily
has made a big difference to me.
• Kent Adult Education
0845 606 5606
• Niace - Promoting
Adult Learning
0116 204 4200/4201
• Kent Innovation &
Enterprise - University
of Kent 01227 827376
or 01634 888873
• Floodlight Kent -
Regional Guide to
Learning 0800 100 900
• Librar y Information
01622 696438
• Online Librar y
01622 696438
• Learn Direct
0800 101 901
• Basic Skills Agency
0800 700 987
• The University of the
Third Age (U3A)
020 8466 6139
Learning will keep you mentally active
Gaining knowledge will keep you interested - and interesting!
Learn at home , college, librar y or community centre
Classes give you the opportunity to make new friends
or details of your local U3A group will be
available from your local library.
There’s a mobile library ser vice across West
Kent. A Home Library Ser vice operates for
people unable to visit a librar y due to frailty or
disability. Care homes, day centres and other
groups can borrow reminiscence material and
books on activities. If you prefer audio there are
audio books on tape or CD. Libraries are also a
good source of information for people who want
to find out more about local or family histor y.
They also provide free access to computers.
You can access the librar y catalogue remotely
from a computer - librar y staff will give you a
Personal Identification Number (PIN) to do this.
You can reserve and renew books online as well
as look at online databases.
There’s a wide range of activities available through
Kent Adult Education, call 0845 606 5606 for
more information.
Exercising our minds as well as our bodies is
important. By learning a language or playing
bridge, you’re keeping mentally active. This can
help keep you mentally healthy for longer. If
you’re going out to a class or centre , you’ll also
be meeting new people and making new friends,
which is stimulating in itself. You’ll probably find
you have lots in common with other people
you’ll meet as your interests will be similar.
join the learning revolution
Don’t let age be a barrier to getting as much as
you can out of life . The old saying that ‘it’s never
too late to learn’ is true - many people in their
60s, 70s and 80s are taking courses and gaining
degrees. But remaining mentally active doesn’t
mean having to sit exams. Taking up chess, doing
the crossword puzzle or reading can be equally
Choosing what to do
There are many activities and courses available ,
you have to choose what you would like to do.
Take into account your interests, skills and
budget and then find out what’s on offer.
Where to look
Your local librar y is a good source of
information and will have leaflets and directories
about local activities. Local newspapers will also
list activities or events going on in your area.
Contact your community or adult education
college or the Open University for advice and
information on what courses may suit you.
The Universities of the Third Age (U3As) in the
UK are autonomous, self-help organisations run
by the voluntar y efforts of their members. U3A
aims to encourage and enable older people, no
longer in full-time paid employment, to help each
other to share their knowledge , skills, interests
and experiences. To find out more please call the
national telephone number on the contacts page
Lifelong learning
Lifelong learning
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 10
Growing older doesn’t have to mean you become
less able. The more aware you are of keeping
physically and mentally active the more you can
reduce the risk of health problems.
Find a form of exercise that suits you - if you don’t
want to exercise as part of a group, think about
walking or swimming. Brighter Futures for Older
People have exercise schemes in Tonbridge and
Malling, Sevenoaks and Maidstone.
Please contact
your local Council or sports centre for fur ther
information. Taking up activities that keep you
mentally stimulated, such as chess or bingo, will not
only keep your brain active, but will help you to
meet new friends.
Talk to
Organisations in West Kent run a number of
classes aimed at the 50+ age group. Your local
Council will be able to provide details of the
‘Health Walks’ in your area.
Age Concern can offer advice and information.
If it’s been a long time since you’ve done any
exercise, or you are receiving any medical
treatment, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor
or practice nurse before you begin, or ask your
doctor about local ‘exercise referral’ schemes.
Enjoying mental and physical activities can help
reduce the risk of many conditions, such as
Alzheimer’s disease , osteoporosis and depression, as
well as helping you to get out and about and make
new friends.
www.kent.gov.uk/socialcare • www.thegrand.org.uk • www.ageconcern.org.uk
www.stedmundsdartford.org.uk • www.whi.org.uk • www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
www.age-net.co.uk • www.seniority.co.uk • www.taichifinder.co.uk/local/seach.html
• Kent County Council
Social Care & Health
08458 247 100
• Kent Connects
01622 694140
• The Gr@nd - Healthy
Living in Gravesham
01474 320123
• St Edmunds Church,
Living W ell Centre
01322 311201
• British Heart
Foundation Cardiac
020 7554 0000
• Heart Helpline
0300 330 3311
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
• Your local librar y is a
good place to find out
about local courses
08458 247200
• Kent Adult Education
0845 606 5606
You’re never too old to star t something new
Physical activity gives you more energy
Contact local organisations to find out what’s on offer in West Kent
Get help to get motivated
Exercise also gives you the ‘feel-good factor’ -
making you feel fitter, more energetic and more
likely to get out and meet people.
Keeping mentally stimulated
We all forget things sometimes but age doesn’t
have to mean sinking into mental decline - the
more you use your brain, the more mentally
active you’ll remain. There are many classes such
as IT courses, heritage studies, singing or craft
activities available locally. For instance , you could
take a computer training course aimed at over
50s or a Keep Fit 50+ course for beginners.
Exercising our minds as well as our bodies is
important. Many activities help keep your brain
mentally agile for example: crossword puzzles,
chess, bingo, learning a language or taking a
cooker y course . Your local librar y is a good
source of information (see Lifelong learning pages
8 and 9). You can also train your memory to
some degree, for instance by making lists, or
using certain ‘trigger’ words to jog your memory.
Just turning up at a local community centre and
meeting new people may be all the mental
stimulation you need. Check your local
newspapers, village hall or community centre
notice boards to see what’s going on in your area.
It may seem daunting at first to go somewhere,
or tr y something new, but you’ll be made to feel
welcome. If you’re worried about language
problems or fitting in with people from a
different ethnic background, staff and volunteers
will help you to feel comfortable .
a healthy mind and a healthy body
Research shows that many of us are too inactive
to benefit our health, but age shouldn’t be a
barrier to being physically and mentally healthy.
There are many things you can do to exercise
both your body and mind. Research also
highlights the benefits of maintaining emotional
well-being by being physically and mentally active.
The benefits of physical activity
Keeping physically active has a huge number of
benefits. It helps to reduce the risk of diabetes,
heart disease and strokes. It strengthens your
muscles, aids mobility, encourages a healthy
appetite, regular bowel movements and a good
sleeping routine . It can reduce the risk of falls,
osteoporosis, stress and depression. It stimulates
the brain, keeping brain cells aler t.
The recommended daily amount of physical
exercise for adults is 30 minutes of activity that
makes you breathe a little harder than normal.
Remember this can be broken down into several
10 minute blocks throughout the day, and it’s a
good idea to build up gradually.
Organisations like Age Concern can tell you
about planned healthy walks,Tai Chi courses,
keep fit and seated exercise classes. Physical
activity doesn’t mean having to join a gym. You
could take up a dance class, walk to the shops
instead of taking the bus, or tackle the garden, all
of which will be keeping your muscles toned and
your joints supple. Even if you’re not able to be
active when standing up, there are lots of seated
exercises you can do. Don’t forget lots of local
leisure centres offer a range of activities like
swimming, water-based exercises or dancing, with
opportunities to keep fit and make new friends.
Keeping well
Keeping well
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 12
WEBLINKS www.westkentpct.nhs.uk • www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
www.rnid.org.uk • www.stroke .org.uk
www.arthritiscare.org.uk • http://smokefree.nhs.uk
I know my eyesight is not as
good as it used to be but never
thought much more of it - until I got
my eyes tested. I now wear glasses
for reading and driving - it’s really
made a huge difference to my life.
• Kent Connects
01622 694140
• West Kent NHS
Primar y Care Trust
0800 0 850 850
• NHS Direct
0845 4647
• Medicines Information
Centre 020 8321 5880
• The Society of
Chiropodists &
0845 450 3720
• Diabetes UK Careline
0845 120 2960
• Royal National Institute
for the Deaf (RNID)
0808 808 0123
• The Stroke Association
0845 3033 100 or
999 in an emergency
• Arthritis Care Helpline
0808 800 4050
Have you had a Medicines Review in the last
twelve months? Talk to your doctor or
pharmacist to arrange one.
A problem with your feet can lead to irritability,
pain and limited mobility. Proper foot care is
essential and should be part of your daily routine.
Check the expir y dates on the medicines that
you have in your cupboards. Don’t order more
than you need.
Take a moment to think about your feet, eyesight,
dental health and hearing - perhaps you’ve not
noticed a gradual decline.
Talk to
Always discuss problems with your doctor,
pharmacist, dentist, optician or podiatrist. Some
conditions can be treated and not all aches and
pains are a consequence of getting older.
Don’t wait until you’re ill to register with a local
doctor. For information on your nearest surgery
contact the Primar y Care Support Ser vice Team.
Have regular dental and sight check ups.
Talk to your pharmacist about any concerns that
you may have. If you’re over 65 ask your doctor
about receiving the flu vaccination.
It’s never too late to improve your health
Know what medicines you are taking and what they do for you
Have regular check-ups including eye tests and dental appointments
If you’re a smoker, giving up is the best thing you can do to improve
your health
Stroke prevention
According to the Stroke Association every five
minutes one person in the UK has a stroke . A
stroke is when the blood supply to the brain is
cut off, and can leave people paralysed, feeling
weak on one side of the face and unable to talk.
Having a healthy lifestyle is the best thing you can
do to reduce your chances of having a stroke . If
you’re Asian, Black African or Caribbean you have
a higher risk of stroke and diabetes so it is
important that you contact your local NHS
ser vices who can help you keep well.
How’s your diet?
If you’re overweight, you are more likely to get high
blood pressure, hear t disease or diabetes. These
illnesses make your chances of having a stroke
greater. It’s important to have a good balanced diet
even if you’re a healthy weight. Tr y to eat less
saturated fat and more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Are you active?
Taking regular exercise helps your body stay
healthy and it’ll also make you feel better in
yourself. Anything that gets your heart beating
faster and leaves you slightly out of breath is
great. So climb the stairs instead of using a lift,
get off the bus a stop earlier and do some
gardening or housework.
Do you smoke?
If you do, stop! You’ll cut your risk of a stroke in
half. Smoking raises your blood pressure and
makes your arteries fur up, so it can lead to
a stroke.
making you feel better
As a society we are living longer and we now
have far more time to enjoy our retirement. It is
important to remember that it’s never too late
to start to make changes to your lifestyle and
routines in order to improve your health and
well-being and ensure that your later years are
not hampered by ill health.
General health
In order to be seen by a local doctor you need
to register with a practice near your home.
Contact your local practice in the first instance
or call the Primar y Care Support Ser vices Team
for a list and information on how to register.
A librar y near you may also have this information
Other health professionals, such as pharmacists,
dentists, opticians, podiatrists (chiropodists) are
also able to provide you with information and
advice on health matters.
In West Kent there’s a scheme called West Kent
Care Call which is a telephone support ser vice
run by nurses. If you have a long-term condition
such as asthma, diabetes, Chronic Obstructive
Pulmonar y Disease or Cardiovascular Disease -
they are able to support and advise about best
treatment options, act as a personal health coach
to tailor a programme for you and help with
managing your condition. It’s simple to access,
just call freephone 0800 169 1824 between 8am
and 8pm Monday to Friday and between 8am and
1pm Saturday.
Looking after your health
Looking after your health
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 14
Looking after your health
How much do you drink?
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood
pressure, so if you’re a woman don’t drink more
than three units a day, and if you’re a man don’t
drink more than four units a day. Your doctor’s
surger y will have further information about units.
How’s your blood pressure?
You might not know if you have high blood
pressure, so it’s a good idea to get it checked
regularly by your doctor.
Are you stressed?
Stress can also raise your blood pressure, so tr y
to find out what’s making you feel stressed and
get some help.
What are the symptoms?
To help people recognise the symptoms of a
stroke quickly,The Stroke Association has funded
research into FAST - the Face Arm Speech Test.
FAST requires an assessment of three specific
symptoms of a stroke.
Facial weakness - can the person smile? Has
their mouth or e
ye drooped?
Arm weakness - can the person raise both arms?
Speech problems - can the person speak clearly
and understand what you say?
Time to call 999.
Signs of a stoke appear suddenly - a stroke is an
emergency so if you see the signs of a stroke act
FAST and call 999. Early treatment saves lives and
increases the chance of making a better recover y.
The benefits of quitting smoking
It’s never too late to stop smoking! Giving up
smoking increases your chances of living a
healthier and longer life. Once you’ve stopped,
your body begins to repair the damage and you
start to feel the benefits. Your health improves,
you feel better and you have more money to
spend on other things.
The local NHS Stop Smoking Ser vice can help
ou. It offers group or individual support and
advice on treatments such as nicotine patches,
gum and other stop-smoking aids. You are four
times more likely to quit and stay quit by getting
support from the NHS Stop Smoking Ser vice
(see weblinks). Call to refer yourself for free
advice and details of a local group near you
01622 723836.
Ageing feet
Footcare is one of the most important aspects of
personal healthcare whatever your age. However,
painful and uncomfortable feet needn’t simply be
something to ‘put up with’ as we grow older.
If you experience any pain something is most likely
wrong. It’s impor tant to seek prompt treatment,
particularly if you have diabetes. People suffering
from diabetes often suffer from poor circulation
and loss of sensation in their feet, meaning that
problems may go unnoticed unless they examine
their feet regularly. You may prefer to visit a
private registered podiatrist (chiropodist) for
information, advice and/or treatment. Contact the
Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists to find one
near you. (see Contacts)
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of
arthritis. Car tilage (connective tissue) between
the bones gradually wastes away and this can lead
to painful rubbing of bone on bone in joints, most
commonly in the hands, spine , knees and hips.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a more severe but less
common condition. The body's immune system
attacks and destroys the joint, causing pain and
swelling. It can lead to reduction of movement
and the breakdown of bone and car tilage.
Arthritis can be life changing but there are many
ys that can help you manage your condition
and lead a full and active life:
Weight bearing exercises such as walking will
help to prevent osteoarthritis by increasing the
strength of the muscles that suppor t your joints.
Good posture can strengthen healthy joint
If you’re overweight, tr y to control your weight
to ease pr
essure on your joints.
Physiotherapy and use of a walking stick or cane
can help prevent worsening of existing conditions.
Your high street pharmacist will be able to
advise you on a range of medicines and remedies
for everyday illnesses. You don’t need to make an
appointment and advice and information will be
provided free of charge.
Medicines reviews
Many of us rely on medicine to keep us fit and
well. If you’re taking a number of different
medicines it can be difficult to remember what
each one is f
or and when to take them. Ask your
doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions
or need help with your medicines.
If you’re taking regular prescription medicines
or suff
er from a long-term illness you should
have a regular review of your medicines at least
once a year.
The review may be carried out by a pharmacist,
a doctor or a n
urse. It will give you the
opportunity to ask questions, talk about anything
that is worr ying you and explain how your
medicines are working for you. Ask for a leaflet
at your doctor’s surgery or the local pharmacy.
Repeat dispensing
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about ‘Repeat
Dispensing’ if you are taking regular medicines.
You may be able to collect monthly supplies of
your medicine from your local pharmacy without
needing to obtain a repeat prescription from
your doctor each time.
Remember to only order the medicines you are
taking and tell y
our doctor or pharmacist if
you’ve stopped taking any of your medicines.
Check the expir y dates on the medicines that
you have in your cupboards. Just like foods,
medicines should not be taken after the use-by
date. Return any out-of-date or unused
medicines to your pharmacist.
People over 60 are eligible for a free NHS sight
test ever y two years, annually if you’re over 70. If
the test shows that you need glasses, you may
also be eligible for help with the cost of glasses.
Some opticians will visit you at home. NHS Direct
can provide a list of opticians in your area.
Dental care
Regular dental check-ups are ver y important,
even if you have no natural teeth. Your dentist
will tell you how often you should go, and this
may be anywhere between six months and two
years. If you’re on a low income or receiving
certain benefits you may be entitled to free
treatment. Always check the cost of treatment in
advance, as it may be expensive. NHS Direct can
provide details of dentists in your local area.
For urgent dental treatment call DentaLine
01634 890300.
Unfortunately a hearing loss at any age can have
a huge impact on personal, social and working
lives if it’s not dealt with. Research shows that
people sometimes wait up to 15 years between
the onset of hearing loss and seeking advice
about it. However, it can be better to find out
about hearing aids sooner rather than later as
getting used to amplified sound is harder if
you’ve already got used to a ‘quieter world’.
If you think you may have some hearing
impairment y
ou should visit your doctor as soon
as possible. Your doctor may do some simple
tests, such as asking you to cover one ear, then
speaking at different levels or using a hand-held
sound generator, to see how you respond to
sounds at different volumes.
Your doctor may refer you to an Ear, Nose and
oat (ENT) specialist or (particularly if you’re
over 60) an Audiologist, who will test you
further to determine the cause of your hearing
loss and work with you to find the best possible
treatment. You may have to wait a few weeks for
your first appointment. The Royal National
Institute for Deaf People (RNID) hearing check
line is a quick and easy way for people to take
action to deal with a potential hearing problem.
Your hormones
One of the female hormones is oestrogen and in
younger women production of this hormone plays
an important role in maintaining bone strength.
Once women reach the menopause, oestrogen
levels drop and this protective factor is lost.
Although women are more likely to have
osteoporosis, men can also have it, especially if
they have low levels of the male hormone,
testosterone . Bone mass also decreases as we
get older and in some people it may be ver y low.
This can mean that they have osteoporosis and
are at risk of fractured bones if they have a fall.
Keeping physically active can help to maintain
bone and muscle strength. Eating healthily is also
important so include foods with calcium and
vitamin D in your diet, such as dair y foods,
sardines, soya products and green leafy
vegetables. If you’ve had a fall or a bone fracture,
speak to your doctor, who will advise if you
need extra calcium and vitamin D.
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 16
As you get older it becomes more important to
know your limit and stick to it. Alcohol can help us
‘wind down’. However if it’s used as a remedy to
mask an underlying problem then it’s likely that the
frequency and amounts will increase.
If you take drugs - illegal or over the counter - you
need to be aware that natural ageing processes
can lead to additional risks, even from drugs you
may have been taking for some time.
There’s no shame in seeking help to address these
Follow the recommended guidelines for sensible
drinking. For example , never drink alcohol on an
empty stomach. The best option may be to stop
drinking altogether. Illegal drugs are often
highlighted as dangerous, but using prescribed
drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and buying
drugs over the internet, also carry risks.
Talk to
If you’re worried about your own, or someone
else’s drinking or drug use , confidential advice and
support is available from a number of services in
West Kent (see Contacts). It’s usually a good idea
to talk to your doctor first as they can refer you
on to specialist ser vices.
Drinking sensibly will allow you to continue to
enjoy alcohol but also to stay safe and healthy.
Tr y to avoid using alcohol with any drugs -
especially illegal drugs - or medicines.Always
check with your doctor if it’s safe to drink
alcohol with prescribed drugs.
WEBLINKS www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk • www.al-anonuk.org.uk • www.nhs.uk
www.womensaid.org.uk • www.downyourdrink.org.uk • www.talktofrank.com
I enjoy an occasional
drink with my friends, but
I know my limits.
• Speak to your doctor
or practice nurse
• Action for Change
(for difficulties with
alcohol, free &
01424 460066
• Drinkline
0800 917 8282
• Alcoholics Anonymous
0845 769 7555
• Al-Anon (for families
& friends of alcoholics)
020 7403 0888
• ADFAM (Helpline for
families & friends
of drug users)
020 7553 7640
• National Domestic
Violence Helpline
0808 2000 247
• Oasis
(Domestic Violence
Help - covers Kent)
01702 300006
Follow the recommended guidelines for sensible drinking
Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your own or someone
else’s drinking
Keep a note of all medicines or remedies you take regularly
Avoid buying medicines, preparations or remedies over the internet
medicines or drugs without medical super vision
can be falls, low mood, confusion, apathy and
poor appetite. Long-term effects can include
ulcers, nutrition deficiency, organ failure and
depression. Illegal drugs carr y additional risks.
Can I drink when I am taking
Many tablets and medicines cause problems with
alcohol and you may need to stop drinking
altogether. Painkillers and sleeping tablets are
particularly affected by alcohol. Always check
with your doctor or pharmacist before drinking
if you are taking medication.
If you feel you need help please contact your
doctor or one of the agencies listed in the
contacts section.
Worried about the drinking or
drug-taking of a friend or relative?
You may be worried that someone close to you
is drinking too much or misusing drugs. This may
make you feel alone , angry or ashamed.
Sometimes, having someone in the family who is
drinking or misusing drugs causes problems such
as arguments, physical fights or problems with
money. If this is the case you may feel torn
between loving the person and hating what they
are doing to themselves and the family. People in
this situation often find it very helpful to have
someone who is outside the family to talk to
about their concerns or feelings.
useful things to know
Reducing the risk of harm
Many people enjoy drinking alcohol and sensible
moderate drinking will probably not harm you.
One unit of alcohol is the equivalent of one pub
measure of spirits, a half pint of lager, a small
glass of wine or a small sherry. However, the
measures that you pour at home are likely to be
larger than pub measures, and therefore contain
more units of alcohol.
It’s recommended that men should drink no
more than four units a day and women no more
than three. Tr y to have one alcohol-free day a
week. Drinking more than this can lead to
significant health problems.
As we get older we feel the effects of alcohol
more quickly, and our ability to process alcohol
decreases with age. One reason for this is that the
water content of our body decreases, so any
alcohol we drink will be more concentrated in
our bodies. For example if you’re driving you may
reach the legal limit more quickly as you get older.
Whenever a doctor, nurse or pharmacist
recommends a medication you should tell them
what you take already so they can give advice
about possible interactions. When taking any
kind of drug or medicine check that it’s safe for
you to drive or handle machiner y.
What are the long-term effects
of alcohol and drug taking?
As with alcohol, drugs can be misused when they
are taken regularly without trying to address the
underlying problem. Short-term effects of taking
Alcohol and drugs
Alcohol and drugs
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 18
Many older people will be put off by language
that appears to trivialise sex as ‘for fun’ outside
the context of a loving relationship. You don’t
have to lose your zest for life and sexual
relationship just because you’re getting older.
If you’ve lost intimacy between you, take time to
explore all aspects of your relationship again.
Remember, as long as you are both comfortable
with it, it’s never too late to learn new ways!
Talk to
Talk to your spouse or partner if you feel you
would like to re-energise your sexual
relationship. You may be surprised by their
Don’t let sexual problems prevent you from
having an intimate relationship. Discuss your
concerns with your doctor who will be able to
advise you and discuss possible treatment.
WEBLINKS www.ageconcern.org.uk • www.nhs.uk • www.gayindex.co.uk
www.gaybritain.co.uk • www.condomessentialwear.co.uk • www.tht.org.uk •
I think my daughter would
be shocked to know that I’m
still interested in sex. But why
shouldn’t I be? Just because
I’m over 60 doesn’t mean
I stop having those feelings
and wanting to share my life
with someone.
• Intimate Relations:
Living and Loving in
Later Life by Dr Sarah
Brewer. Available from
Age Concern Books
• The New Love and Sex
After 60 by
Robert N. Butler and
Myrna I. Lewis
• Relate
01892 529927
• NHS Direct
0845 4647
Sexual desire doesn’t disappear because you’re older
Older people can enjoy active sex lives
Maintain intimacy in your relationship - keep the romance going
Dating agencies cater for all ages, and for heterosexual and
same-sex relationships
Sexual problems can be resolved
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) affect all ages, a condom is the best
way of protecting yourself and your par tner
your later years, socialising or taking up a new
hobby can introduce you to people with similar
interests. If you’re a lesbian or gay man there
may be local groups you can join.
There are dating agencies that cater for older
people, whether heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian,
gay or transgender - including anyone with a
disability. Remember, safe sex isn’t just for
younger people - Sexually Transmitted Infections
(STIs) can affect anyone.
Your changing body
It’s an inevitable fact that, however young we feel
inside, our bodies change physically as we age .
Some people may find they have age related
sexual problems. Men may find it more difficult to
get and maintain an erection, while women may
find lubrication a problem. Erectile dysfunction
can be a sign of other health problems, so do
speak to your doctor. These problems should not
be just accepted as a part of growing older - your
doctor can probably help you, so don’t be
embarrassed to ask for advice.
intimate relations
The younger generation often assume that sexual
intimacy disappears once you reach 60. The truth
is that desiring sex and having sexual relations
doesn’t have to diminish as we get older.
The health benefits of sexual
There are many reasons why regular sex is good
for you. In women it can increase blood oestrogen
levels, helping to protect against coronar y hear t
disease and osteoporosis, and helping to keep the
pelvic floor muscles toned, reducing the risk of
incontinence. In men, sex releases hormones
which help strengthen bones and muscles, protect
against heart disease and may relieve congestion in
the prostate gland. For both sexes, in addition to
the emotional benefits, it can be a great stress
reliever, induce sleep and be fun!
Maintaining a relationship
When you’ve been with your spouse or par tner
for a great number of years, it can be easy to slip
out of intimacy and into companionship.
Good communication will help you to discuss
ways of maintaining a close sexual relationship
that suits both your needs. If you’re alone in
Loving in later life
Loving in later life
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 20
WEBLINKS www.westkentpct.nhs.uk • www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org
When my bladder started to
leak I thought it was something
that I’d have to live with. Then I
contacted my local continence
service and realised that there was
actually something that could be
done to help me.
• West Kent NHS
Primar y Care Trust
0800 0 850 850
• The Bladder &
Bowel Foundation
Nurse Helpline
0845 345 0165
Counsellor Helpline
0870 770 3246
General Enquir y
01536 533255
• Incontact
0870 770 3246
Don’t be afraid to seek help
Remember your incontinence may be curable
Although you may feel it you’re not alone
Who can help?
You can ask your doctor or any Health Care
Professional about referral to the Continence
Ser vice . You can also contact the Continence
Ser vice direct and make a self-referral.
What happens then?
A full continence ser vice assessment will be
carried out to obtain a clear history of your
complaint. This may include a bladder scan,
bladder diary and urine testing. Following this a
personalised treatment plan will be given to you
and will be regularly reviewed.
What can you do to help
Don’t go to the toilet just in case.
Don’t hover over the toilet. Sit down properly.
Reduce your intake of tea, coffee and
fizzy drinks.
Don’t stop drinking water.
Seek help.
effective management
Making you feel better
Do you have a problem?
Most people consider their toilet habits to be
‘normal’. But are they?
Do you go to the toilet to pass urine 4-6 times
each day?
Do you have dr y pants at all times?
Do you pass 300-400mls of urine at a time?
(A mug holds about 250ml)
Do you pass urine easily, without straining
or pain?
Is your urine light in colour and odourless?
Do you always make it to the toilet in time
without having to rush?
If the answer to the above questions is ‘yes’,
you’ve no problems. However, if you’ve answered
‘no’ to any of the above you should seek help
before things become any worse.
Continence care
Continence care
'Around 5-9% of the adult population have
significant problems with urinar y incontinence
and the majority of these could be successfully
treated/cured'(DH Good Practice in Continence
Ser vice 2000). Urinary and faecal incontinence
are common problems affecting both women and
men of all ages.
Is this a new problem? Is your urine dark in
colour and/or smells offensive? Do you have any
lower stomach or back pain? Does it hur t when
you pass urine? If you have any of these
symptoms contact your doctor as you may have
a urinar y infection. Have you been star ted on any
new medications? If so ask your pharmacist or
doctor if this could be a side effect.
Talk to
If you’re experiencing any problems with urinary
or faecal incontinence, you should contact your
doctor or Continence Ser vice . Many problems
can be treated and in a lot of cases cured.
Don’t let the problem continue, it’s impor tant
that you seek help. You can help yourself by
thinking about what you drink. Cut back on tea,
coffee and fizzy drinks. If you can change to
decaffeinated drinks, this can make a big
difference . Never go to the toilet ‘just in case’.
Most importantly don’t stop drinking water.
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 22
If you feel you’ve lost confidence , haven’t got the
energy to go out, feel irritable , are sleeping
badly, drinking more alcohol, and take little care
over your appearance , you may be suffering
from depression. If you’re becoming more
confused, forgetful or have sudden outbursts of
emotion, you may be suffering from dementia.
You should seek professional help.
It may take time to realise that you’re not
behaving normally. Talk to family and friends. See if
they have noticed any changes in your behaviour.
Contact your doctor if you’re worried.
Talk to
Discuss your concerns with your doctor, who
will be able to assess you and advise you. Discuss
any other symptoms you may have. Symptoms of
dehydration and urine infections can often be
mistaken for symptoms of dementia.
Get the support of family, friends and your
doctor. The sooner you talk about any concerns,
the more quickly you can be diagnosed, and
treated if necessary, before the problem gets
worse. If you’re dealing with someone who has
a mental health problem, talk to Rethink, who
can offer help and support to carers.
WEBLINKS www.kent.gov.uk/socialcare • www.alzheimers.org.uk
www.samaritans.org.uk • www.mind.org.uk • www.rethink.org
• Kent Adult Social
08458 247 247
• Alzheimer’s Society
020 7423 3500
• Dementia Helpline
0808 808 3000 (24 hour)
• Samaritans
08457 90 90 90 (24 hour)
• Mind info Line
0845 766 0163
• Rethink
0845 456 0455
• Mental Health Matters
0800 107 0160
I felt depressed after I retired and
for weeks I hardly went out. But after a
few months I realised things weren’t
getting better, so I went to my doctor for
help. It was difficult at first, but now I’m
making the most of my life.
Ageing doesn’t have to mean a decline in mental health
Life changes can be positive
Physical activity helps keep you mentally active
Take steps to help prevent depression
Make the most of growing older
Looking after yourself
Physical activity is not only a good way of keeping
healthy - it also helps to keep you mentally aler t,
and can help with stress and anxiety too.
A well-balanced diet is also vital to your health and
well-being. This should include plenty of fruit and
vegetables - remember tinned and frozen can be as
good as fresh. Drink plenty of fresh water -
especially in warm weather to keep yourself
hydrated. Dehydration can cause dizziness and
confusion. Make sure you get plenty of rest too.
Recognising there’s a problem
There are many factors that can lead to depression,
such as bereavement, loneliness and ill health.
Symptoms may include a loss of appetite, insomnia,
weight loss, lack of motivation and little energ y. It’s
normal to feel one or two of these at any time, but
if you’re affected by a combination of them, talk to
about diagnosis and treatment.
Dementia or progressive brain dysfunction is a
common concern for many as they grow older.
Symptoms, such as forgetfulness, confusion, and
emotional outbursts, may not be recognised as
dementia at first, but will gradually worsen. If you
think you, or your spouse or partner, is being
affected by dementia, talk to your doctor (see
Dementia page).
Remember suicide can affect older people as
much as young people . If you’re concerned that
someone is thinking of harming themselves
support and advice is available. As the carer of
someone with a mental health condition you may
be entitled to support yourself (see Caring for
someone else page).
coping with change and new challenges
Coping with life changes
There are many changes in life that can trigger
anxiety, loss of confidence and depression, such as:
Loss of health or mobility.
Moving home.
Retirement can lead to a loss of self-worth and
not feeling an active member of society. The
reduction in income can also force unwanted
lifestyle changes. Bereavement is par ticularly hard
to bear - not only have you lost a loved one, but
your lifestyle may completely change.
A loss of health or mobility may mean getting out
less or becoming more dependent on others. If you
have to move home, for instance into a smaller flat
or into a care home, you may find it hard to cope
with the loss of friends and independence.
But there are steps you can take to help cope
with these life changes (see Coping with loss -
page 30). Make sure you have other activities and
hobbies in place when you retire , so that you’re
not suddenly faced with long, empty days. Use
the support of family, friends and local ser vices if
you’re looking after a sick par tner - you’ll
appreciate and need the suppor t network
especially if your par tner dies. Keeping physically
and mentally active will help reduce the risk of
illness and disease. If you have to move home,
tr y to stay within your local area, so that you
can maintain contact with friends and family.
Keeping mentally healthy
Keeping mentally healthy
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 24
Dementia is the progressive loss of the powers
of the brain. Ever y person with dementia is
different depending on which areas of their brain
are most damaged.
Confusion or forgetfulness does not mean
someone has dementia. Other conditions such as
infections can cause similar problems so see
your doctor. Help and support is there when it
is needed.
Talk to
The first step is to see a doctor if you suspect
you or someone you know may have dementia.
If your doctor finds no reason for the symptoms,
they may want to refer you to the Mental Health
Ser vices for older people, who are the dementia
WEBLINKS www.westkentpct.nhs.uk • www.alzheimers.org.uk •
www.ageconcern.org.uk • www.fordementia.org.uk
EMAIL alzhmrsmaidstone@btconnect.com
I realised my memory wasn’t as
good as it used to be, so I made an
appointment with my doctor to find
out why I was being so forgetful.
• West Kent NHS
Primar y Care Trust
0800 0 850 850
• Alzheimer's &
Dementia Support
Ser vices (ADSS)
01474 533990
• Alzheimer's Society
(West Kent) Tonbridge
01732 370330
(Maidstone & Rural
01622 609060
• Alzheimer’s Society
Dementia Helpline
0845 300 0336
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
• Admiral Nurses
020 7874 7210
• Rethink
0845 456 0455
Confusion or forgetfulness doesn’t mean someone has dementia
If you’re worried see your doctor
It’s important to have an early diagnosis to rule out any other condition
that could be causing memor y problems
If you have a diagnosis of dementia you can continue to take an active part
in the community and enjoy life
worse as they get older but when someone has
dementia they may forget the names of family
members, they may burn pans because they have
forgotten them or forget whether they have
eaten lunch. They may repeat the same question
again and again and not know they are doing it.
They may lose their sense of time , which day it is
or the time of day. They may forget where they
are, or get lost even in a familiar place.
People with dementia may often be confused.
Their ability to think can be damaged. They may
make odd decisions, find it hard to solve problems
and handling money may become difficult.
Dementia can also cause personality and
behaviour changes.
What should I do if I'm worried?
Confusion or forgetfulness does not nesessarily
mean someone has dementia. Other conditions
such as infections can cause similar problems, so
see your doctor.
If your doctor finds no reason for the symptoms,
they may want to refer you to the Mental Health
Ser vices for older people, who are the dementia
specialists. Some treatments may be available which
may help some people with the symptoms of some
forms of dementia particularly Alzheimer's disease,
and research is progressing all the time . Get the
help and support you need.
forgetfulness doesn’t necessarily mean dementia
What is dementia?
Dementia is the progressive loss of the powers of
the brain. There are many kinds of dementia but
the most common are Alzheimer's disease and
vascular dementia and possibly a mixture of both.
What all types of dementia have in common is
that they damage and kill brain cells, so that the
brain cannot work as well as it should.
What causes dementia?
Medical researchers all over the world are
working to find causes and develop treatments.
Alzheimer's disease damages individual brain cells
one by one, so that the brain can't work as well
as it used to. There may be a genetic factor in
some cases of Alzheimer’s, but this does not
mean that someone whose parent had
Alzheimer's will automatically develop the
In the vascular dementias, there are problems
with the blood supply to brain cells. For
example, some people have tiny strokes (or
infarcts) which damage small areas of the brain.
What are the symptoms?
Every person with dementia is different. How
their illness affects them depends on which areas
of their brain are most damaged.
One of the most common symptoms of dementia
is memor y loss. Most people's memory gets
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 26
Being a carer has its rewards, but it’s also hard
work. Make the most of any support offered by
family, friends, Kent Adult Social Ser vices or
relevant voluntary organisations, and other carers.
There are specific rights for carers including
employment rights. Please contact one of the
organisations listed for further information.
Don’t feel you have to cope alone. If you’re caring for
someone, you may be entitled to benefits and
ser vices provided by Kent Adult Social Ser vices and
other organisations, to help you manage and make
life easier for you and the person you’re caring for.
Talk to
Talk to
Kent Adult Social Services
about your
situation - they can advise you on what help you may
be entitled to and also give you advice about
contacting other helpful organisations.
Looking after another person who is ill or disabled
can be very stressful and can take a toll on your own
health, mentally, physically and emotionally. If you feel
under pressure, there are people you can turn to.
Carers organisations offer suppor t and information.
Tr y to get help before you feel overwhelmed.
WEBLINKS www.alzheimers.org.uk • www.kent.gov.uk
www.carers.org • www.direct.gov.uk
www.carersfirst.org.uk • www.vam-online .org.uk
www.ellenorfoundation.org • www.hokh.org
www.carersuk.org.uk •
www.nhs.uk/carersdirect • www.carers.gov.uk
My husband and I have a
wonderful relationship - but
we’ve both had to adapt to
our changing roles. Since my
stroke, he feels more like a
nurse than a husband, while I
feel helpless rather than being
the one in control.
• Kent Adult Social
08458 247 247
• Carers First
Tonbridge, Tunbridge
Wells, Sevenoaks,
Edenbridge &
surrounding areas
01732 357555
• Ellenor Foundation
01322 221315
• Heart of Kent Hospice
01622 792200
• Hospice in the Weald
01892 820500
• Disability Benefits
Enquir y Line
0800 88 22 00
• Rethink
0845 456 0455
• The Princess Royal
Trust for Carers
0844 800 4361
• Carers Project
01622 685276
• Kent Carers
08458 247100
Get suppor t from family, friends and other carers
Carers can ask for an assessment to determine what benefits and suppor t
you’re entitled to
Adjust to your changing role
You’re not alone - ask for help
you always have been, or as a mother, father, wife
or husband. Don’t be afraid to remind them you
have your own hobbies and interests beyond
caring. It’s important that you seek help in order
to continue your previous activities.
Your role can often be a difficult one and it’s
natural at times to feel resentment, anger or
guilt. These are normal reactions to demanding
circumstances, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Make the most of suppor t from family, friends
and local organisations. Take a break when you
can - even a few minutes to yourself can
sometimes help.
It’s often very stressful caring for someone else,
however much you love them, and stress lowers
your immune system, leaving you more
susceptible to injur y and illness. It’s important
that you look after yourself as well as the person
you’re caring for, which means eating a healthy,
balanced diet and tr ying not to take on more
than you can cope with. You should let your
doctor know that you are a carer, so that they
can support you in looking after your own
health. Information is available locally to assist
you in your caring role (see Contacts).
shifting responsibilities and adjusting roles
Adjusting to the role of carer
If you’re looking after your spouse, partner,
parent, friend or other relative because of age,
sickness or disability, you are a carer. As you
probably already know, becoming a carer can
mean making major changes to your life and the
life of the person you’re caring for. While some
of these changes may bring their own rewards,
others may take time to adapt to.
In becoming a carer you’ll be facing issues that
you may not have had to deal with before. It can
be hard to adjust to becoming a carer and
someone being dependent on your support. An
independent spouse or partner may now need
constant attention, both physically and
emotionally, and you may need to deal with
problems such as confusion or loss of memor y,
incontinence and immobility. You may have been
caring for a younger person, maybe a son or a
daughter, for many years and are now finding it
more difficult to cope.
You’ll also need to get used to other people’s
new perceptions of you. Your spouse or par tner,
family, friends and new people you meet may see
you solely as a carer, rather than the individual
Caring for someone else
Caring for someone else
EMAIL kentcarers@kent.gov.uk
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 28
Making practical changes
Caring for someone may mean having to make
some practical changes. You may need adaptations
and improvements to your home to make life
easier for both of you. This may mean simple
adjustments, or more major changes such as
installing a hoist over the bath, or making a home
suitable for wheelchair access. In some cases it
may be necessar y to think about moving to a new
home, more suited to your current needs.
Moving or handling the person you’re caring for
may be physically difficult for you and must be
done correctly to prevent injur y to yourself.
Kent Adult Social Services can assist with sources
of information and advice regarding equipment
that may help. Households needing adaptations
may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant
from their local Council. Please see useful
contacts and information at the back of this
publication under your local area.
Assistance and benefits
As a carer, you are legally entitled to a Carer’s
Assessment to find out your needs and what
ser vices might be available to help you. You can
have this at any time, even if the person you care
for has refused an assessment or suppor t
ser vices. The Carer’s Assessment is an essential
‘first step’ in getting support services. Contact
Kent Adult Social Services, for more information.
Discussing how caring affects your life can be a
valuable experience in its o
wn right. It can also
give you lots of information about other services
that could help you, and other ideas for helping
and supporting you as a carer.
There are also grants and benefits, in the form of
wances, which you or the person you’re
caring for may be entitled to, so it’s impor tant to
contact the Disability Benefits Enquir y Line or
your local carers organisation, who will be able
to advise you.
Care homes
If you, or the person you care for, are considering
a care home or moving to more suitable
Kent Adult Social Services
advise you on quality, cost, and suitability for
your needs even if you expect to bear the full
cost yourself. You may also consider contacting
the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on
03000 616161 for detailed repor ts on care
homes and other regulated care ser vices.
Family life
It’s good to have the suppor t of family and
friends, so try and keep in contact, even if you
live long distances apar t.
Getting suppor t
Carers often need support themselves, not only
to help cope with the workload, but to deal with
their own associated problems, such as stress
and depression.
Caring for someone else
You may not label yourself a carer, and see it as
your duty to look after a family member or
friend. However, you may be entitled to suppor t
ser vices that can greatly improve the quality of
your life and that of the person you’re caring
for. Use the contact numbers in this section to
get in touch with local organisations who can
advise you.
Carers breaks
Looking after yourself is important and
sometimes you’ll need to take a break from your
caring role . This might be to enjoy a hobby, catch
up with friends or family or simply to have a
rest. Having a change of scener y and making
contact with other people can be enjoyable for
the person you care for too. Breaks from caring
can range from a few hours to several weeks
and can include having a holiday with the person
you care for but without having responsibility for
providing care. Alternative care ser vices can be
provided in your home or away - contact your
local carers organisation to find out more.
Kent Carers Emergency Card
If you spend time apar t from the person you
care for, even if it’s only for a few minutes, you
may worr y what will happen should you be
taken ill or have an accident. Who will know that
someone depends on you and how will they get
the help they need? As a carer you can apply for
an Emergency Card, which you would then carr y
in your purse or wallet. The emergency ser vices
know to look for this card and be alerted to
your caring role . The card will have a 24 hour
call centre number to ring and a unique
identification number which will enable the call
centre to activate a pre-arranged care plan for
the person you care for. To find out more and to
register contact your local carers organisation
(Contacts listed on page 26).
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 30
Losing someone close to you is often a highly
traumatic event. Although each person will deal with
loss in their own way there are several recognisable
emotions and reactions that many people go through.
This is an entirely normal par t of grieving.
In the earliest days of your bereavement do ask
someone to help you with the practicalities, such as
informing friends and family, choosing a funeral
director and getting the death certificate from the
Register Office. The National Association of Funeral
Directors may be helpful at this time . Many people
find these practical tasks help them cope with the
sorrow - painful though they are.
Talk to
Getting used to the loss of a loved one is not easy.
Allowing yourself to express your feelings can help
you get used to it. Talking about death and the
person who died helps too. As does dealing with
the practical aspects of your new life. If you
continue to find it ver y difficult then speak to your
doctor. Cruse can put you in touch with
bereavement support ser vices.
Grief can really knock you for six. It may affect
your emotional, physical and mental health. Slowly
you will probably find a new way of living whilst
remembering the person you’ve lost. Grief is a
natural process, take as long as you need to come
to terms with your loss.
WEBLINKS www.westkentpct.nhs.uk • www.kent.gov.uk/community • www.dwp.gov.uk
www.the-bereavement-register.org.uk • www.crusebereavementcare .org.uk
www.nafd.org.uk • www.ageconcern.org.uk • www.samaritans.org
• West Kent NHS
Primar y Care Trust
0800 0 850 850
• The Kent Registration
08458 247 400
• Cruse Bereavement
0844 477 9400
• National Association
of Funeral Directors
0845 230 1343
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
• Samaritans
08457 90 90 90
(24 hour)
I always thought it would be me that went
first. I’d feel completely helpless if it weren’t for
my friends and family there to support me.
Even an expected death can come as a shock
Ask your funeral director for advice on arrangements
Expect emotional mood swings, grieving takes time
Look after yourself in your grief, get as much support as you can
Help those closest to you by preparing legal matters and wills in advance
Being practical
There are a number of practical things to be
done following a death. If you can, ask a family
member or friend to help out.
A doctor will need to issue a death cer tificate .
You should appoint a funeral director to make
the arrangements. You may be entitled to help
with funeral expenses.
You must register the death within five days.
You’ll need to take the death certificate with
you to the Register Office.
Tell family members, friends and colleagues.
There may be organisations to notify too. If the
deceased was receiving any welfare benefits
then you should inform the benefits office .
Other organisations to be informed include
DVLA, the UK Passport Agency, Inland
Revenue, and any bank or building societies.
You may also need to contact their personal or
occupational pension provider, insurance
companies, mortgage provider, housing
association or Council housing office, social
care services, and utility suppliers.
It can be upsetting to continue to receive post,
especially junk mail, in the deceased person’s
name. You may want to register the name and
address of the deceased person with the
Bereavement Register who try to stop post
being sent to people who have died.
Read the will if there is one.
your changing emotions
Your feelings
You may think you should be able to cope,
especially if the death was expected, but you still
find you can’t.You may think you’ve done all your
grieving and then find you haven’t. You may think
that having other people who care for you will
make ever ything alright but it doesn’t - no one
can fill the gap in your life. If other people were
not aware of the nature of your relationship
with the deceased you may feel excluded. Anger
is a common part of grieving - anger at yourself,
anger at the person who died, anger at friends
and family and anger at the system.
Everything you took for granted has gone and
you feel bereft and maybe worthless. You may
feel you’ve nothing to look forward to.
Having someone to talk to will help. Allow
yourself to express your feelings and talk about
the person who has died.
Your life may indeed have changed. Your financial
circumstances may be very different. You might
be living by yourself for the first time. You might
find that you have to manage tasks around the
home that you’ve never had to do before . You
may have no one to share memories or special
jokes with.
Coping with loss
Coping with loss
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 32
Do you manage to eat healthily and cook yourself
hot meals? Do you shop regularly and keep on top
of the cleaning? If this is difficult for you, the
sooner you get help, the easier your life will be
and the less likely it is that you may need to leave
your home because you cannot look after yourself.
There are many ser vices available and
organisations ready to help - they just need to
know you need their assistance! As a first step,
contact Kent Adult Social Services for information
on ser vices that might suit your needs.
Talk to
Kent Adult Social Services will arrange for an
assessment of your needs to see if you’re eligible
for services from Adult Social Care. Once the
assessment has taken place they can provide you
with information about services that best suit
your needs. You could also speak to your local
doctor, district nurse or community matron.
It’s better to seek help early on and get the help
you need, rather than leaving it too late and not
being able to manage in your own home . No one
wants you to leave the security of your own home.
WEBLINKS www.kent.gov.uk • www.westkentenable.org.uk • www.ageconcern.org.uk
I needed help, but was worried about
contacting Social Services in case they said I
had to leave my flat. But they were very
helpful and sent someone to assess my
situation. I now have regular support to lend
a hand with things I find difficult which means
I can continue to live in my own home.
• Kent Adult Social
08458 247 247
• West Kent Enable
01892 530330
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
• NHS Direct
0845 4647
• Home Improvements
Dartford & Gravesham
01474 566283
01622 765496
Mid & West Kent
01732 525520
• Bereavement Register
0870 600 7222
You can maintain your independence at home
Asking for support will help you to cope
Many local organisations can help
You may be entitled to payments to meet your needs
Contact your doctor or district nurse to find out about community
health ser vices
Consider whether you want to move to a smaller or sheltered proper ty
With the right support and assistance you’re
more likely to be able to maintain your
independence and enjoy life in the security of
your own home .
You may not want to choose suppor t from
social ser vices, but instead, you may wish to
choose support through a local community
organisation or a leisure centre activity, which
will meet your assessed need in a different way.
Getting the right ser vices
There’s a wide range of services that you may be
eligible for. Kent Adult Social Ser vices, your
doctor and Primar y Care Team, can provide
ser vices, either directly or by arranging for
ser vices to be provided by another organisation.
Kent Adult Social Services do have to make a
charge for their services. The actual cost will
depend on your individual financial circumstances.
You may be offered an 'Enablement Ser vice'
which can support you to regain confidence and
daily skills to maintain independence within your
home. If you need further suppor t you may be
offered a direct payment. You can decide how to
spend the money to get the service you need.
Home support
You may be offered help with personal care,
such as bathing, dressing and some domestic
tasks that you’re finding difficult.
dignity and choice
Living in your own home , surrounded by
possessions and years of personal history, is
important to all of us. But looking after yourself
and maintaining a home - cleaning, shopping and
cooking - can become more difficult as age
affects speed and mobility. That’s why it’s
important to seek help early on. With regular
support and assistance , you’re more likely to be
able to maintain your independence and enjoy
life in the security of your own home.
Keep active!
The best way to maintain independence in your
own home is by staying mentally and physically
active. Get out and about as much as possible ,
meet friends, take up hobbies and eat healthily.
Assessing your needs
Kent Adult Social Services overall objective is to
empower the people of Kent, to identify, choose
and control the suppor t or care they need to
live safely and independently in their local
communities. We are modernising our ser vices
so that:
People can get the suppor t they need, when
they need it.
Access is easier.
People can choose the right suppor t to live life
as they want.
Maintaining independence
Maintaining independence
EMAIL help@the-bereavement-register.com
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 34
Maintaining independence
Daytime activities
There are a variety of daytime activities across
the county which offer the chance to meet
other people outside your home, share
activities and have a meal. To attend, you may
have to be assessed as needing the service . It
may be possible to have help with transpor t to
and from the day centre.
Personal alarm schemes and assistive
If you live alone or find it difficult getting out
and about,
an alarm system gives you the
security of knowing you can contact someone
in an emergency. New developments have huge
potential to support people to live in their
own homes and to complement traditional
care. Technology can provide you with more
freedom and give carers more time to
concentrate on the human aspects of support.
There’s a range of equipment that might help
you with everyday activities and help you to
feel safer, without intruding into your
independent life. Contact Kent Adult Social
Ser vices or your local Lifeline via Age Concern
for further information.
Short breaks
If you’re a carer, or are being cared for by
another person, respite care offers the chance of
a short break. This could mean someone coming
in to take over care in the home for a limited
period, or having a shor t stay in a care home.
Meals at home
You can have meals delivered to your home if
you’re having difficulty in cooking for yourself.
Special diets and diets to meet your cultural
needs can be catered for. Frozen meals can also
be provided, so that you can defrost, heat and
eat when you wish.
Other forms of help
If you’re finding it difficult to cope on your own, but
don’t want to move, you may want to consider
‘live-in help’. Contact
Kent Adult Social Services
who can advise you on how to go about arranging
this safely.
Direct Payments
The Direct Payments scheme means that, if you
qualify for services,
Kent Adult Social Services
can give you money to arrange your own care
and support. This enables you to choose the
ser vice you want for yourself.
Contacting your doctor
If you have any health problems, contact your
local doctor. If necessar y they can refer you to
someone in the community health service , such
as a district nurse or physiotherapist, community
psychiatric nurse, or continence advisor. Minor
problems can often be solved by talking to your
community pharmacist. Problems such as corns
or bunions can cause real difficulties in getting
around, so don’t feel you are being a nuisance by
asking for help with minor ailments. You can also
contact NHS Direct 0845 4647, if you have a
question about a health problem.
Keeping well in winter
It’s impor tant to keep warm during cold weather.
There are useful tips in leaflets from
organisations like Help the Aged or from local
‘Keep Warm Keep Well’ campaigns. Details of
this scheme are on the website
or ask at Age Concern or your local Council.
Ask your doctor about the flu vaccination - if
ou’re over 65, or have a long-term medical
condition such as asthma or diabetes. Flu can be
a serious illness and older people are more
susceptible to its effects. It’s important therefore
to take up the oppor tunity to be vaccinated
each year.
You may be in receipt of benefits that qualify you
to r
eceive loft or cavity insulation. There are also
national and local grant schemes that you may be
able to access. For fur ther information please
www.energ ysavingtrust.co.uk or
freephone 0800 512012.
Heatwave - be prepared
Make sure you know how to look after yourself
and others if a heatwave occurs.
Why is a heatwave a problem?
The main risks are:
Dehydration (not having enough water).
Overheating can make symptoms worse for
people with hear
t or breathing problems.
Heat exhaustion.
Heatstroke can make people ver y ill and can
sometimes be fatal.
A heatwave can affect anyone, but most
vulnerable are:
Older people , especially those over 75.
People with chronic conditions, i.e . heart or
breathing problems.
People with mobility problems.
People with serious mental health problems.
People on cer tain medication which may affect
weating and temperature control.
People who misuse alcohol or drugs.
To reduce the risk:
Avoid the heat. Stay out of the sun and plan
ahead so y
ou don’t go out between 11am and
3pm (the hottest part of the day).
Avoid excessive physical activity, or do it later
in the day.
Keep rooms as cool as possible with shades or
eflective material external to the glass, if this is
not possible close pale coloured curtains.
Metal blinds and dark curtains can make the
room hotter.
Keep windows closed while the room is cooler
than it is outside
. If safe to do so, open
windows at night when the air is cooler.
Have cool baths or showers and splash
yourself with cool water.
Drink water or fruit juice regularly, avoid
tea or coffee.
Wear loose, cool clothing and a hat when
Listen out for information on the radio or TV.
If an amber alert is issued, there’s a 60% chance
that a heatwave will occur within the next few days.
A red alert is issued when a heatwave is happening.
If someone feels unwell, get them somewhere cool
to rest and give them plenty of fluids to drink.
Symptoms such as breathlessness, confusion,
weakness, dizziness or cramps get worse or
don’t go away, seek medical help.
Time in hospital
Whether you have to stay in hospital due to an
accident, sudden illness or a planned admission,
you’ll be asked for information about your home
circumstances and how you managed at home
previously. From the point of admission your
hospital care team start planning for your
discharge to ensure that, when you’re recovered
and ready to be discharged, any support you
need has been ar
ranged. Ask ward staff for
more information.
Adapting your home
There are all kinds of disability equipment
available, such as grab rails, stair rails, rails in the
bathroom or raised toilet seats. You may also
want to get advice on altering your home.
Contact Kent Adult Social Services who can
direct you to sources of information and advice.
Householders may be eligible for a Disabled
Facilities Grant from their local Council.
Looking at alternatives
Consider a more suitable type of home if you’re
struggling. There may come a time when you
realise that your current home is no longer
practical for you and should begin to consider
the alternatives. See ‘Housing matters’ section on
page 44 for options available .
Continuing health care
This is considered when a person has a long-
standing illness, a severe disability, or a complex
physical or mental health care problem. There’s
specific national guidance on the eligibility for
continuing health care .
Following an assessment with input from all the
people involved in your care , it will be decided if
you’re eligible for continuing health care funding.
If you meet the criteria, the necessar y ser vices
will be paid for and arranged by the National
Health Ser vice .
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 36
Kent County Council co-ordinates a wide range
of public transport services. This includes
specialist transport for people with mobility
difficulties. There are also many voluntary
schemes operating in the county.
Contact the numbers on this page and ask for
details on the different schemes available . The
sooner you find out the information you need,
the sooner you can get out and about.
Talk to
If you’re applying for a concessionar y travel
scheme or Blue Badge, ask whether you’ll need a
mobility assessment or if your doctor needs to
send information to support your application.
It can be isolating and depressing when you
find it hard to get out and run daily errands or
meet friends. The assisted transport ser vices
are there to help you - so find out now whether
you are eligible.
WEBLINKS www.direct.gov.uk • www.nationalrail.co.uk • www.traveline.org.uk
Because I can't drive any more, using
buses around West Kent has opened up my
whole life. I enjoy concessionary travel as well
as the beautiful Kent countryside.
• Kent Adult Social
08458 247 247
• North West Kent
01622 605349
• National Rail
08457 48 49 50
• Traveline
Public Transport
0871 200 22 33
• Blue Badge
Parking Scheme
01622 605020
Trust/Kent Karrier
Dial-a-ride Ser vices
01892 722297
Free bus travel
Dial-a-ride and community transport
Blue Badge Parking Scheme
Travelling to medical appointments
Rail travel
Many rail stations now have step-free access to
platforms. For further information about rail
accessibility contact National Rail Enquiries or visit
their website both listed on the contacts page.
If you’re 60 or over, you can buy a Senior Railcard.
You’ll save
on Standard and First Class rail
fares throughout Great Britain for a whole year.
Blue Badge Parking Scheme
If you can’t walk very far you might be eligible
for a blue car badge. You can use the badge
whether you are a driver or a passenger. It
means you can park nearer to your destination,
and in restricted parking areas. Blue car badges
are part of a nationally recognised disabled
parking scheme but unfortunately cannot be
issued for a temporary mobility problem.
Contact Kent Adult Social Services to apply.
Travelling to medical
Hospitals and doctor’s surgeries tr y to be
flexible with the allocation of appointments
where transport difficulties may arise. Do
contact them if you’re having trouble arranging
suitable transport. You may be entitled to further
assistance, either financially or of a practical
nature, to help you get to your appointment.
staying mobile
Bus travel
Many of the public bus routes are operated with
easy-access, low-floor buses, reducing the height
between the pavement and the bus entrance,
which helps if you’ve a mobility problem. The
buses have space for wheelchair passengers too.
Everyone who is over 60, or with an eligible
disability, is entitled to a bus pass allowing free
off-peak travel on local buses anywhere in
England. You should contact your local District
or Borough Council to apply for this.
Traveline provides information on bus ser vices and
timetables for West Kent and the rest of the UK.
Dial-a-ride and community
Dial-a-ride provides door-to-door transpor t for
anyone who finds it difficult to use ordinary bus
ser vices, including disabled people or anyone
with a temporar y disability, such as a broken leg.
You’ll need to register with Dial-a-ride by
telephoning for a registration form. Once you’ve
completed and returned the form you’ll be able
to make a booking by phone. The minibus will
collect you from your door and take you to your
chosen destination. There’s usually a charge for
this ser vice .
A large number of volunteer driver schemes
operate in West Kent. Many only cover a specific
geographical area.
EMAIL transport@compaidtrust.org.uk
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 38
You may have had the same bank or building
society account for years, but feel you’re not
making the most from your money. Find out
whether concessions are available and which
account might best suit your circumstances.
Get advice on what benefits you may be entitled
to. Tr y Citizens Advice,Age Concern or The
Pension, Disability and Carers Ser vice . For
personal finances contact your bank or building
society, or use the ser vices of an independent
financial advisor.
Talk to
Discuss your personal finances with an
independent financial advisor. If you’re having
problems with money take advice as soon as
possible. The Citizens Advice is a good place to
start. Their advice is free. Beware of people who
charge for debt advice - it’s rarely a good option.
Get help and advice early before debts build up.
Find cost-effective ways to make your money
spread a little further. Take advantage of incentives
like having the same supplier for your gas and
WEBLINKS www.citizensadvice.org.uk
www.thepensionservice.gov.uk • www.nhfa.co.uk
www.direct.gov.uk www.hmrc.gov.uk
www.taxaid.org.uk www.publicguardian.gov.uk
I hadn’t updated my financial situation
for years. But after getting advice, I realised
I was missing out on some benefits and
not making the most of my savings.
• Citizens Advice:
01322 224686
01732 865131
01474 361239
01622 757882
01732 454443
01322 664949
01732 350099
Tunbridge W ells
0844 499 4140
• The Pension Ser vice
0845 6060265
• Jobcentre Plus
0800 055 6688
• National Home Fees
Association (NHFA)
0800 99 88 33
• National Debtline
0808 808 4000
Look at your personal finances closely - do a financial health check
Know how to claim benefits, discounts and allowances, even with savings
you may be entitled to some help
Update your finances and get help with any debts
Seek professional advice for your financial future
Getting advice
If necessar y discuss your personal finances with a
financial advisor. Banks and building societies have
their own financial advisors, but you don’t have to
take their advice . Alternatively, an independent
financial advisor can give you advice but check their
fees first. The Citizens Advice will help with any debt
problems - it’s never too soon to contact them and
they won’t charge you for help and advice.
Lasting Power of Attorney
This ensures that your wishes are carried out in
the future should you be unable to take decisions
for yourself. See Organising your will and legal
matters page for information on setting up a
lasting Power of Attorney.
Pre-paid funeral plans
There are many companies which offer a pre-paid
funeral arranging service , it’s a simple way to
provide for your funeral in advance . This will help
to reduce the emotional and financial burden on
your family and friends. It also means that you
know that your wishes will be carried out after
your death. Contact you local Citizens Advice
for information and help.
Equity Release Schemes
Equity Release Schemes offer older homeowners
the chance to get cash for some of the value of
their home. Sometimes this will be a lump sum
but other schemes will give you regular payments.
Before you participate in an Equity Release
Scheme you must seek independent financial and
legal advice to ensure that this is the best way to
make your money work for you.
you’ve worked hard, so make your money work hard too
Don’t neglect personal finances
As you get older, your needs and priorities
change. If you have savings, make sure that they
are in the right place. If money is tight check that
you’re claiming ever ything that you should. In fact
check anyway - some benefits depend on age ,
health or other circumstances rather than on
how much money you already have (see
Knowing what you’re entitled to page for
contact details on where to get help). If you’re
concerned about debts of any amount or
struggling to pay bills, help is available - contact
your local Citizens Advice .
Check that you are adequately insured for your
car, home and contents. Can you get a better
deal with a different insurer?
Check to see whether you are getting the best
deal from your telephone, gas and/or electricity
company. Paying by direct debit may be cheaper.
Make sure that the bank accounts you hold are
still the best for your changing needs. Don’t
forget that your local Credit Union offers a
range of saving schemes and low-cost loans.
These are open to everyone but can be
especially useful for people on a low income .
Income and outgoings
Income, savings, pensions and taxes are often
inter-linked and changes to one can affect the
others. As there are often new deals available ,
get advice on making the most of your money.
Looking after your finances
Looking after your finances
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 40
Many older people are not claiming money
they’re entitled to because they haven’t looked
into whether they are eligible or not. Don’t miss
out - even a small extra payment each week can
make a big difference .
The pension and benefits system can be very
complex, so rather than trying to work out on
your own what you may be entitled to, and how
your savings may affect this, you should seek
specialist advice.Your local Council or Gateway
can also provide you with Citizens Advice
contact details. Act now and get what you’re
entitled to.
Talk to
It’s easy to quickly find out what benefits you
may be entitled to, by contacting Age Concern or
the Citizens Advice for a confidential discussion.
You’re entitled to financial help and support.
Many people find it difficult to make ends meet
because they are not claiming the benefits they
are entitled to. All you have to do is ask.
Age Concern and Citizens Advice both provide
benefit checks.
www.adviceguide.org.uk • www.direct.gov.uk
I had a bit of money in the bank,
so I didn’t think I would be entitled to
anything. But I got assessed by the
benefits advisor and now the little
extra I get each month makes a big
difference to my quality of life.
• West Kent Enable
01892 530330
• Citizens Advice:
01322 224686
01474 361239
01622 757882
01732 454443
01322 664949
01732 350099
Tunbridge W ells
0844 499 4140
• Jobcentre Plus
0800 055 6688
• The Pension Ser vice
0845 6060265
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
Don’t assume you’re not eligible for entitlements
Ask a benefits advisor to assess your financial situation
Don’t be embarrassed to ask for advice
You may still be entitled even if you have savings
Many older people are not claiming money they’re entitled to
You may be entitled to financial allowances if you
need someone to help care for you, if you have a
physical or mental disability, or if you’re a carer.
At 60, you’ll also be entitled to other
concessions, such as free or reduced price travel,
and reduced price entry to leisure centres or
adult education classes.
Attendance Allowance
This is a tax-free benefit for over 65s who have an
illness or disability and need help with personal
care. It is not affected by your savings. The money
can be paid directly into an account of your choice.
Getting Attendance Allowance may increase other
benefits that you’re already getting. Inform your
benefits office if your health changes.
Disability Living Allowance
This allowance can be claimed by people who
need help in caring for themselves or in getting
around because they are ill, disabled or
terminally ill. You’re not eligible to make a new
claim for Disability Living Allowance if you’re
over 65. In this case you should claim
Attendance Allowance instead.
Council Tax reductions
You’re entitled to a reduction of 25% in your
Council Tax if you live alone. Some people who
have dementia and some carers are also able to
claim a reduction. You may also be able to claim
a reduction to your bill if your home has been
adapted for a disabled person.
the benefits are out there
There are many benefits, allowances, discounts
and concessions you may be entitled to, even if
you have personal savings. It’s impor tant to tr y
and work out what these are. Some benefits,
such as Council Tax, Housing Benefit and Pension
Credit, are based on your financial circumstances
(but not the value of your home). Other benefits,
such the Winter Fuel Payment and Age Related
Allowance, are based purely on your age. Others
are based on your care needs, such as the
Attendance Allowance , Disability Living
Allowance or Carer’s Allowance.
Over 60
You may be entitled to travel concessions from
your District or Borough Council - please see
useful contacts and information at the back of this
booklet. If you receive Pension Credit you may
also be able to get a refund on reasonable travel
costs to hospital appointments. Contact
organisations such as Age Concern, Citizens
Advice and the Pension Ser vice for advice .
Understanding your entitlements
While you may know that you’re eligible for
some entitlements, there may be other benefits
you’re unaware of, so ask your benefits advisor
to check for you. These may include:
Pension Credit.
Working Tax Credit (if you’ve not retired).
Housing Benefit.
Council Tax Benefit.
Social Fund (such as Winter Fuel Payments, or
to help cover extra costs, such as paying for
a funeral).
Knowing what you’re entitled to
Knowing what you’re entitled to
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 42
Writing a will helps save your family from worr y
in the future, and means your wishes will be met.
If you have an illness that may lead you to be
mentally incapacitated in the future, and if you’ve
views about the kind of treatment you receive
and for how long, it makes sense to think about
writing an advance statement or directive - a
‘living will’.
Contact one of the organisations listed to
get more information on writing a will or a
living will.
Talk to
If you wish to make arrangements for someone to
look after an adult/child with a learning disability or
mental illness in the event of your death please
speak to your local Citizens Advice for further
advice. A solicitor does not need to be involved in
writing a directive, but you should discuss your
wishes with your family and your
Settling your legal matters in advance will give
you peace of mind and will also make things a lot
easier and less stressful for your family if you
become ill or when you die.
www.citizensadvice.org.uk • www.ageconcern.org.uk
www.lawsociety.org.uk • www.organdonation.nhs.uk
I wanted to get my affairs into
order before I became too ill. I feel
happier now because I know my
wishes will be carried out and that,
when I die, those closest to me will
benefit from my will.
• Citizens Advice:
01322 224686
01474 361239
01622 757882
01732 454443
01322 664949
01732 350099
Tunbridge W ells
0844 4994 140
• Citizens Rights for
Older People (CROP)
01622 812228
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
• Law Society
020 7242 1222
• Find a solicitor
0870 606 6575
• NHS Organ Donor
Line 0845 60 60 400
• Public Guardianship
Office 0845 330 2900
A will means that your wishes will be followed
Make sure that your wishes are known
Drawing up a will doesn’t have to cost a lot
Get financial help for legal matters
A Living Will states your wishes for future treatment
Organising your legal matters will help your family
wishes which are not legally binding and specific
refusals of treatment called 'Advanced Decisions'.
You can use an Advanced Decision to indicate
your wish to refuse all or some forms of medical
treatment if you lose mental capacity in the
future. You cannot use it to request treatment. It
must be signed whilst mentally competent.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal
document that lets you appoint someone you
trust as an 'attorney' to make decisions on your
behalf. It can be drawn up at any time while you
have capacity but has no legal standing until it is
registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
A registered LPA can be used at any time,
whether you’ve the mental ability to act for
yourself or not.
Par tnership rights
If you and your partner are not married you should
seek advice because different rules apply around:
Bereavement and registration of death.
‘Next of kin’ status and incapacity.
Pension provision.
Wills and intestacy (if you die without leaving
a will).
Organ donation
If you wish to become an organ donor call the
NHS Organ Donor Line on 0845 60 60 400
(7am to 11pm).
making your wishes known
Why make a will?
Even if you feel you don’t have much to leave, it’s
important that what you do have is left to those
you care about. If you don’t make a will, this means
you die ‘intestate’. Your spouse or par tner will be
the main beneficiar y unless stated otherwise . If
you’re not married to your par tner they won’t
automatically be a beneficiary, so make
arrangements in advance. The absence of a will
causes lengthy delays so organise things in advance.
Other legal matters
Visit www.lawsociety.org.uk to find details of a
suitable local solicitor. Some solicitors may have
funding schemes to help with the cost. Remember
to check in advance what fees will apply.
Making your wishes known
Age Concern provides a document that gives
details on your wishes for funeral arrangements.
It has spaces where you can fill in information so
your family and friends understand your wishes
after your death. This document should be given
to a trusted family member for safe keeping. It
can not be used as a will.
Call freephone 0800 00 99 66 and ask for the
form headed ‘To my family, friends and executors...
Living Will
A Living Will usually takes the form of a written
statement setting out your advance wishes in
agreeing to or refusing medical treatment. Living
Wills can include general statements about your
Organising your will and legal matters
Organising your will and legal matters
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 44
Many people think more about where they live as
they grow older. Upkeep of the home can become
a problem and there are grants available to help.
Where we live has a great effect on the quality of
our lives so it’s wise to look at all the options
very carefully.
Seek advice and information about alternative
ways of remaining independent in your home,
maintaining your home or moving to another
home. Talk things through with family and friends,
or someone you trust such as your doctor or
social worker.
Talk to
Talk to your local Age Concern, Citizens Advice ,
Sheltered Housing Team or Housing Advice Centre .
National organisations like Help the Aged, Counsel
and Care and the Elderly Accommodation Counsel
produce fact sheets and run helplines. Their advice
includes renting and purchasing options. Council or
housing association tenants can talk to their housing
officer at their local neighbourhood office or
Housing Association.
It’s better to think ahead about your housing needs
rather than making a decision in a crisis. Choosing
where and how you live should be your decision
and no one should tr y and persuade you to do
something that you’re not sure about. If you’re facing
the possibility of losing your home you should
contact the housing advice team at your Council.
www.ageconcern.org.uk and www.helptheaged.org.uk
www.housingcare.org • www.stayingput.org.uk
www.direct.gov.uk • www.managenerg y.net
I was worried I would have to
leave my lovely home as I had no
savings to repair it and make it safer
and more comfortable for me to live
in. But I found out that this needn’t
be the case and was able to get a
grant to help with the costs of some
of the adaptations.
• Kent Adult Social
08458 247 247
• Age Concern/Help the
020 7278 1114
• Counsel & Care
0845 300 7585
• Kent Suppor ting People
08458 247 100
• Warmfront
0800 316 2814
Elderly Accommodation
Counsel 020 7820 1343
• Dartford Borough
Council 01322 343434
• Gravesham Borough
Council 01474 337000
• Maidstone Borough
Council 01622 602000
• Sevenoaks District
Council 01732 227000
• Swanley Town Council
01322 665855
• Tonbridge & Malling
Borough Council
01732 844522
• Tunbridge Wells
Borough Council
01892 526121
• Energy Saving Advice
0800 512012
Repairs may be needed to make your home safer or more comfor table
There may be grants available to help with the upkeep of your home
Where we live has a great effect on the quality of our lives
Choosing where and how you live should be your decision
The type of work that can be carried out can
include, for example:
Roof repairs.
Damp proofing and plastering.
Loft and other insulation.
Major structural repairs.
Central heating.
Electrical work.
Improvements to windows and doors.
Stair lifts or through floor lifts.
Installing ground floor showers and toilets.
Extensions and en-suite facilities.
Moving electrical sockets and light switches to
make them reachable.
A warmer home
The Warm Front Scheme provides grants to make
homes (owned or privately-rented) warmer,
healthier and more energy-efficient for people
receiving benefits. If you don’t qualify for Warm
Front your Council may offer energ y-efficiency
grants. If eligible, you could receive a grant of up
to £3,500 (or £6,000 where oil, low carbon or
renewal technologies are recommended). These
grants help pay for a package of insulation and
heating improvements, such as:
Loft insulation.
Draught proofing.
Cavity wall insulation.
Hot water tank insulation.
Gas, electric or oil central heating.
Glass fronted fire.
living where you want
Home improvements
Your home may need repairs to be safer or
more comfor table. If you’re a homeowner with
savings, you’ll probably have to pay for these
yourself. Your local Age Concern or Council can
supply a list of tradespersons, or contact
Consumer Direct.
If you’re a homeowner getting means-tested
benefits, or at least one person in the household
is 60 or over, has a long-term illness or disability,
you may qualify for a grant. If you rent privately
you may still get a grant for work you are
responsible for. Contact your Council’s Home
Improvement or Housing Team.
Home Improvement Agencies
Home Improvement Agencies (HIA) provide
advice, suppor t and assistance to help older,
disabled or vulnerable people repair, improve ,
maintain or adapt their own homes so they can
remain living there independently and as safely
and comfortable as possible .
When you contact the HIA, they will arrange to
visit your home and carr y out an assessment to
find out what repairs or improvements you need.
Guidance will be given on the best way to pay for
the work. This could be through, for example;
local authority grants, home energy efficiency
grants, equity release schemes and loans, benefits,
insurance claims or charitable sources. Once you
have decided on the work, the HIA will prepare
the drawings and specification for the work and
then engage reputable builders to tender and
compete for the work.
Housing matters
Housing matters
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 46
An assessor will visit your home and ask to see
proof of your benefits, discuss with you the
energy efficiency options available to you under
Warm Front, and recommend improvements
based on the needs of your proper ty. The visit
will take no longer than one hour and will
normally happen within 21 working days once
they have approved your application.
Handyperson Schemes
There may be a Handyperson Scheme in your area
to help with odd jobs for older and disabled
homeowners or private tenants. Odd jobs can
include, for example; replacing light bulbs, fitting
plugs and fuses, putting up curtains and shelves.
This is a low-cost service , or free if you receive
benefits. Contact your local Home Improvement
Agency (see Maintaining independence on page 32).
Disabled Facilities Grants
One of the grants available to help older or
disabled people pay for the costs of adapting
their homes is called a Disabled Facilities Grant
(DFG). This is a means tested grant, (unless the
applicant is aged under 18), which can be
obtained from your local Council. Eligible work is
wide-ranging, providing for access to the home
and basic facilities within it, for example: providing
ramps, door widening, stair lifts and level access
showers. Anyone can apply, whether they live in
their own home, are privately renting or a
Council or housing association tenant.
Applications are considered upon a referral from
an Occupational Therapist (OT) and your local
Council can put you in touch with one. The
assessment that the OT carries out will
determine whether you have to make a
contribution, if any, towards the costs of the
adaptations. The grant would then cover the
remainder of the costs. The current maximum
grant allowed per application is £30,000. Contact
your local Council for more information.
Suppor ting People
This government programme pays for housing-
related support to help you live independently
in your own home , including sheltered housing.
Supporting People can provide floating support
to help your remain living in your home . The
type of support that can be offered includes,
for example:
Budgeting and financial management.
Setting up home and resettlement support.
Understanding tenancy agreements.
Life skills and being independent at home.
Staying safe at home.
How to access daytime activities, training,
education and emplo
yment within a community.
Finding a doctor and accessing other necessar y
Dealing with other agencies.
Neighbour issues.
This ser vice is free and available to regardless of
whether y
ou own your own home, rent privately,
or are a Council or Housing Association tenant.
Contact your local Lifeline , Housing office or the
Supporting People Team.
Housing options
You may be thinking about whether your current
home is still suitable for you now or will be
suitable in the future. Where you live should be
your choice and there are many housing options
available to you.
Housing and homelessness
For impartial advice on housing and the options
available to you, contact your local Council
Housing Department.
If you think you may be threatened with
don’t leave things until it’s too late .
Contact your local Council as soon as possible
who will be able to offer you advice , and if
eligible and in priority need, could provide you
with housing assistance.
If you’re a Council and Housing
Association tenant
You may be interested in swapping homes or
moving to another area through a mutual
exchange with another tenant. Check with your
Council or Housing Association landlord about
how this works. You can also take part in the
national ‘HomeSwapper’ scheme
If your children have all left home now, you may
be living on y
our own in a family sized proper ty
and be interested in downsizing to a smaller
home. Many Council’s run schemes that offer
cash incentive payments for releasing family sized
proper ties in return for moving into a smaller
home. Contact your local Council to find out if
this is happening in your area.
Kent Homechoice
All the local Councils in Kent, together with
Housing Associations, now advertise their homes
for rent and people can bid for a proper ty of
their choice. This new system called Choiced
Based Lettings, means that for the first time
people have an active role in choosing where
they want to live.
www.kenthomechoice .org.uk or contact
your local Council for fur ther details.
Retirement housing or
sheltered housing
These are self-contained flats specifically for
older people and are available to rent or buy,
with on-site or visiting support. If you would like
to find out more about this type of housing, ask
your local Council Housing Department.
Extra care housing
These are self-contained flats offering 24 hour
care and support on-site and usually some meals.
Contact your local Housing Department about
renting. The Elderly Accommodation Council can
advise about purchase .
Care homes
Care homes provide 24 hour personal care and
some provide nursing care . Kent Adult Social
Ser vices can advise you on quality, cost and
suitability for your needs. Contact Kent Adult
Social Ser vices, Counsel and Care or Age Concern.
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 48
The more aware you are of the potential risks, the
less likely you are to be a victim of crime. Take a
good look around your home and secure any
weak points. Keep your bag closed and close to
your body when you go out.
Check locks on doors and windows to make sure
they are secure. Never open the door to anybody
unless you can check they are who they say they
are. When out, keep to well-lit, busy streets and
don’t carry large amounts of cash.
Talk to
Organisations such as Kent Police (Crime
Prevention), W est Kent Trading Standards
(Consumer Direct) and West Kent Fire and
Rescue Ser vice can give you free advice about
keeping yourself safe in your home. Victim
Support can help if you experience crime. Contact
your Neighbourhood Police Officer - you can call
the main switchboard on 01622 690690 and ask
to be put through to the Neighbourhood Team.
It can be easy to think that ever y person who
knocks on your door is up to no good. In fact
people over 60 are less likely to be victims of
crime than any other age group. However it’s still
important to minimise the risks. Take steps to
reduce crime and to protect yourself sensibly.
Prevention is better than cure.
WEBLINKS www.kent.police.uk • www.kent.fire-uk.org • www.victimsupport.org.uk
www.helptheaged.org.uk • www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
www.crimestoppers-uk.org • www.intouchsuppor t.co.uk
Newspapers often make crime
levels seem worse than they are. I like
to feel safe, but while it is common
sense to be careful about security, it
doesn’t mean I have to turn my home
into Fort Knox or be afraid to go out.
• Kent police
01622 690690 (for all
• Kent Fire & Rescue
Ser vice free home
safety visit
0800 923 7000
• Victim Support
0845 30 30 900
• Age Concern/
Help the Aged
020 7278 1114
• Consumer Direct
08454 04 05 06
• Crimestoppers
0800 555 111
Secure your home so you feel safe - don’t let strangers in without identification
Don’t buy from doorstep callers, get quotes for work on your home and use
recommended contractors. Don’t par t with money before any work has been
satisfactorily completed
Keep safe on the streets
home. Keep your bag with you and don’t leave it
unattended, for example in a supermarket trolley.
However, don’t fight any attempt to snatch your
bag - you run the risk of harm or injury.
Peace of mind
Insure your home contents for theft or fire. If
you keep valuables at home take photographs of
them so you have a record of what’s missing if
you’re burgled. Marking your proper ty with your
postcode can deter burglars because it makes it
harder for them to sell the goods. Your local
Police station can provide special pens and
‘postcode stickers’ to deter potential thieves.
Don’t keep large sums of money at home and
keep a list of credit cards and their emergency
telephone numbers so you are able to inform the
company if your cards are stolen.
If you’ve suffered a crime
Contact the Police immediately and give as many
details as you can. If credit cards were stolen
inform the relevant companies and if keys are
missing change the locks. The Police can put you
in contact with Victim Support. Keep your local
Police number somewhere handy.
Almost all fires in the home can
be prevented
To make your home safer and to help reduce
deaths and casualties from fire in the home, Kent
Fire and Rescue Service offers a free home safety
visit. The visit involves home fire and safety
advice from a Fire Officer and the installation of
free smoke alarms, if required. The alarms have
batteries that last up to ten years for added
peace of mind. To arrange a free home safety visit
telephone 0800 923 7000.
reducing the risks
Secure windows and doors
Make sure not to leave windows or doors
unlocked when you are out or sleeping. Front
and back doors should be fitted with five-lever
mortice locks. If you like a window open at night,
fit it with a lock so that it can only open a few
inches. Locks should be fitted through one of the
handyperson schemes (operated by the Home
Improvement Agencies - please see useful
contacts and information at the back of this
booklet) or by a qualified locksmith. Make sure
you have a chain on your front door.
Bogus callers and doorstep sales
Sometimes people may tr y to gain entr y to your
proper ty by pretending that they are from a
reputable organisation. Always ask for identification
and only let people into your house if they provide
this. If in doubt, you can telephone their company
to check. Don’t feel pressured into paying for things
sold at the door. By law you must be given time to
think about any purchase made on the doorstep.
Ask for time before deciding. If work is carried out
on your proper ty don’t pay for repairs until the
work is completed to your satisfaction. Get quotes
and use recommended contractors. The ‘Buy with
Confidence’ scheme can assist with this or contact
your local Home Improvement Agency. If you’re
dissatisfied with work that you’ve paid for, call West
Kent Trading Standards or Consumer Direct.
Out and about
In urban areas reduce your risk of an attack by
sticking to busy routes where plenty of other
people are about. Keep your house keys separate
from other possessions so that if your bag is
stolen the thief does not have your address and
your keys. Also you’ll still be able to get into your
Keeping yourself safe
Keeping yourself safe
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 50
As you get older, it’s easier to fall and hurt
yourself. Tell your
or nurse if you’ve had a
fall as you may be at risk of having fur ther falls. It’s
important to make an action plan of what to do if
you should fall.
Check to see how you can make your home safer,
room by room. Install stair and handrails if
necessar y. Check loose carpets and make sure
items that you use every day are within reach.
Correctly fitting footwear can reduce the
likelihood of a fall - check your footwear regularly,
including slippers.
Talk to
If you’re worried about getting help after falling,
you may want to get a ‘Community Alarm’
(a Lifeline). The alarm can be worn on your wrist,
as a pendant, or it can be part of a special
telephone. Just pressing a button will alert staff at
a response centre. There are many local alarm
schemes (see Contacts).
Age Concern and Help the Aged have information
leaflets about fall prevention. They can advise you
on home safety and what sort of equipment you
may need to help prevent accidents. You should
also talk to your doctor if you feel you need help
walking. Remaining fit and mobile will help
strengthen your bones, reducing the risk of falls.
WEBLINKS www.kent.gov.uk • www.intouchsupport.co.uk • www.direct.gov.uk
www.ageconcern.org.uk • www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
• Kent Adult Social
08458 247 247
• In Touch
Tonbridge & Malling
01732 525520
• In Touch
01622 356490
• Community Police
01622 690690
• Seniorline
0808 800 6565
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
• NHS Direct
0845 4647
Slipping on the wet bathroom
floor gave me a nasty shock. It
could have been a lot worse, if I’d
broken my hip instead of just
bruising it and I might have lain
there for hours. Now I’m a lot
more careful.
Check your home for any possible hazards
If you fall, get help and keep warm
Consider a pendant alarm to get help quickly
Always tell your doctor or nurse if you, or your spouse or partner, has had a fall
In the bedroom
Always switch off your electric fire or blanket
before getting into bed, and check their cords
regularly for scorch marks. In autumn time, check
with your local Council to see if electric blanket
testing is available in your area. Before getting
into bed, make sure that anything you need is
within easy reach - a lamp, drink, medication -
and it's a good idea to have a torch by the
bedside. If you feel dizzy when you first sit up,
wait a couple of minutes before standing up.
In the living area
If rugs are frayed, it’s safer to remove them. To
prevent having to bend, make sure everyday
objects, such as the telephone or remote control,
are kept within easy reach. Fitting a letter tray to
your letterbox will also save bending. Have fire
and gas equipment checked regularly - contact
your local supplier or your local In Touch Home
Improvement Agency for details of approved
contractors (see area contacts). Check smoke
alarm batteries regularly.
What to do if you fall
Call for help.
Keep warm, covering yourself with anything
available and tr y to keep moving as much as
you’re able , even if by just flexing your muscles.
Rest before you try to get up if you’re able
to do so.
If you’re having difficulty getting in and out of the
bath, difficulty with stairs etc. then call Kent Adult
Social Ser vices 08458 247 247.
including reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls
Being fit and active can help to reduce your risk
of having a fall by maintaining muscle strength and
better balance. Eat a healthy balanced diet, with
regular meals and healthy snacks containing
calcium and vitamin D, for example dairy
produce , fruit, green vegetables and oily fish.
However active you are some aspects of ageing
can increase the risk of a fall so it’s important that
your home is a safe place . Make your home
clutter-free and easily accessible . Evidence shows
that once an older person has had a fall, they are
at a greater risk of falling again. Tell your doctor or
nurse if you’ve had a fall. Falls are not an inevitable
part of getting older and the Specialist Falls
Ser vice can help. Make sure you think about how
you will get help if you fall and cannot get up. You
need to avoid lying for a long time on the floor,
especially in the cold. Consider getting an alarm.
Minimise the risks by:
Keeping clutter off the floor and stairs.
Using high wattage bulbs.
Wearing flat, well-fitting shoes.
Getting help carr ying heavy objects.
Arranging regular health and eye tests.
Doing gentle exercise to improve balance -
Age Concern have information on classes in
your area.
In the bathroom
Test your bath water, to prevent scalding. If you’re
in sheltered housing you can have thermostatic
mixing valves fitted. Use a non-slip rubber mat to
stop you sliding when you get into the bath. A
handrail is useful if you need extra support. It's a
good idea to leave the door unlocked in case you
need help.
Accident prevention at home
Accident prevention at home
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 52
For an immediately serious situation, don’t
hesitate to call 999.
What about the less serious but still very
worr ying things that can occur at any time?
It’s helpful to have an idea of what to do as well
as a list of some useful numbers you might need.
You can prepare for some emergencies by having
a box of essential items kept in a place you can
easily locate. The box could include: a torch and
batteries, candles and matches (not to be used if
you suspect a gas leak!), a list of essential
telephone numbers for family, friends and your
doctor’s surger y, small first-aid kit, and spare hat
and gloves in case your heating fails.
Have a plan, written down or in your mind, about
what you would do if your property were to flood,
catch fire, spring a leak, or need emergency repairs.
Talk to
Discuss what to do in different kinds of
emergencies with family members or friends. Think
about how you might get to a place of safety
Planning and being prepared for an emergency
helps to reduce the feelings of panic and fear.
Reduce fire hazards in your home. Fit smoke
detectors - at least one on ever y floor. The
Community Safety Team may be able to provide
these free of charge. Telephone 0800 177 7069
for more information.
WEBLINKS www.pfe.gov.uk • www.environment-agency.gov.uk
www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk • www.tradingstandards.gov.uk
When I could smell gas I was reassured
by the prompt response I received from the
National Gas Emergency Service.
• Kent Adult Social
08458 247 247
• Ambulance, Fire
Brigade, Police &
Coastguard DIAL 999
• Floodline
0845 988 1188
• National Gas
Emergency Ser vice
0800 111 999
• Power cuts
EDF Distribution
South East
0800 783 8866
• To report a leak
from a water main
0800 028 3399
• NHS Direct
0845 4647
• Consumer Direct
08454 04 05 06
Tr y to remain calm, think before acting and try to reassure others
Make sure 999 has been called if people are injured or if there’s a threat
to life
Know where and how to turn off water, gas and electricity supplies in
your home
If you’re at home and an emergency happens, tr y to gather together some
essential items such as keys, cash and a list of useful phone numbers
with the Environment Agency or Floodline . A free
telephone warning ser vice is also available .
What to do when a pipe bursts
Do you know where your mains stop tap is? If
not, try looking under the sink or where the pipe
comes into your home. Turning it clockwise will
shut down the supply. It could take a few
moments for the water to stop.
What is a medical emergency?
When it comes to your health or the health of
someone in your family, it’s often very obvious if
the person is seriously ill and needs immediate
emergency care.
An emergency is a critical or life-threatening
situation. The Accident and Emergency
Department is not an alternative to your doctor.
Contact your doctor, pharmacist or NHS Direct
for non-urgent medical care .
Do you have a mobile phone?
If you find yourself outside the coverage area of
your mobile network and there’s an emergency,
dial 112. The mobile will search any worldwide
network to establish the emergency number
for you.
staying in control
How to stay in control of an
emergency situation
Don’t panic! Staying calm means the emergency
ser vices can get the information they need from
you more easily. Summarise the situation briefly
and clearly. Tr y to use a landline telephone rather
than a mobile so the ser vices can locate you if you
get cut off. If it’s a fire , call from a safe distance.
The emergency ser vices, local authorities and
providers of residential accommodation would be
on hand to assist in the event of a flood or other
serious emergency.
What to do if you smell gas
Open the windows to clear the air. That should
reduce the smell, as well as any danger. If it’s dark,
don’t turn on lights (to avoid the risk of sparks)
and never use a naked flame to see your way.
It may not even be a leak - check your gas
cooker or fire has not been accidentally turned
on. If not then shut down all your gas appliances
and turn off your gas at the mains supply.
Do you know where that is?
It’s probably under the stairs or near the door.
Changes in our climate, such as more severe
storms and wetter winters, will increase the risk
of flooding. To find out if you are at risk check
What to do in an emergency
What to do in an emergency
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 54
Anyone can experience abuse and the abuser may
be known to them. The abuser can be someone
you know well or a stranger. The Adult Social Care
Emergency Ser vice has a legal responsibility to
prevent, investigate and take action where it is
alleged a vulnerable adult is being abused.
Abuse is an action affecting someone’s human or
civil rights. It may be a single act or happen
repeatedly over time . The abuse may be deliberate
or the result of ignorance. The vulnerable adult
may be neglected or taken advantage of.
Explain your concerns to someone you trust and
ask for action to be taken. Never feel embarrassed
about highlighting abuse and don’t be afraid to
complain. If the problem relates to a care ser vice
get a copy of their complaints policy and speak to
the registered manager. If the abuse involves
physical or sexual assault, racial harassment or theft
you should involve the Police .
Talk to
Contact somebody you trust like your doctor, a
relative, friend or carer. Call the Police , Social Care
Emergency Ser vice ,Age Concern or Action on
Elder Abuse. All of these people will make sure
somebody talks to you promptly. CRI Domestic
Abuse Project offer specialist information and
support for people experiencing domestic violence .
If a trader is abusing vulnerable people by exploiting
them financially,Trading Standards will take action
to stop this happening.
The earlier abuse is identified, the less long-term
harm will be caused - always trust your instincts if
you feel someone is not being treated in the way
they should be.
WEBLINKS www.kent.gov.uk/socialcare • www.westkentenable .org.uk • www.cqc .org.uk
www.carersuk.org • www.refuge.org.uk • www.elderabuse .org.uk
I knew that the way she was
treating me wasn’t right, but I
didn’t know who to turn to. Luckily,
another careworker realised I
wasn’t quite my usual self and
encouraged me to talk.
• Adult Social Care
Emergency Ser vice
08458 247 100
• West Kent Enable
01892 530330
• Care Quality
03000 616161
• Age Concern
0800 00 99 66
• Carers UK
0808 808 7777
• Counsel & Care
0845 300 7585
• National Domestic
Violence Helpline
0808 2000 247
• Elder Abuse Response
0808 808 8141
Abuse of older people has been called a ‘hidden and often ignored
problem in society’
Abuse isn’t common and you can do a great deal to keep safe
Both older men and women can be at risk of being harmed
Abuse can happen anywhere
Psychological or emotional abuse,
behaviour that makes you feel anxious,
frightened or intimidated, including verbal
abuse or demeaning, threatening, or
intimidating language.
Financial abuse includes theft, fraud or
exploitation. It may be someone using, or
putting pressure on you to use , your money
in a way that you don’t want or isn’t in your
best interests.
Neglect including ignoring or failing to meet
your medical or physical care needs, or not
providing necessities such as medication,
nutrition and heating.
Sexual harm involves someone making you
do something you don’t want to, or that you
didn’t or couldn’t consent to.
Discrimination being treated less favourably
because of your race, sex, age , disability, sexual
orientation, religion or role in society.
What to do about it
Abuse stays hidden because people are afraid to
speak out. Abuse has a profound effect on the
quality of life of an older person and their rights
need to be recognised. Ongoing abuse can lead
to the loss of the person’s independence . If you
are being harmed, or someone you care for tells
you they are being harmed, you should contact
Kent Adult Social Services immediately.
keeping safe
The abuser may be well known to the older
person. The strain of caring for someone,
especially on a long-term basis, can lead people
to act in ways that they shouldn’t. There may be
a single or occasional act of abuse as the result
of frustration. Or there are systematic attacks,
deliberate acts with intent to harm.
These may be caused by a relative or carer
having their own physical or mental health
problems, the breakdown of the relationship or
the carer’s inability to provide the level of care
needed. In nursing homes or residential care
homes, abuse can occur when staff are
inadequately trained or supervised and have little
management support or guidance . Abuse can be
an unintentional reaction to circumstances a
person does not know how to deal with.
Domestic violence is a term used for abuse
between people who share the same home or
ex-partner or other people no longer living in
the home. Domestic violence can affect victims
in many ways, including isolation from family and
friends, poor mental and physical health, anxiety,
depression and a lowered sense of self-worth.
You can be harmed by someone in
the following ways:
Physical abuse causing physical harm either
deliberately or by rough or thoughtless
Older people at risk of harm
Older people at risk of harm
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 15/9/09 18:00 Page 56
In Touch Home Improvement Agency The Gravesham Volunteer Centre
Useful contacts and information
Dartford & Gravesham The Arc, 43 Windmill Street, Gravesend,
West Kent NHS Helpline
Freephone helpline run by NHS West Kent
Customer Ser
vices Team - first port of call for all
questions and comments about your local NHS.
0800 0 850 850 www.westkentpct.nhs.uk
NHS Direct
Confidential health advice and information
24 hours a da
y. Provides list of pharmacists open
after 5pm and on Bank Holidays.
0845 4647 www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
For emergency dentistry if you are not
egistered with a dentist. 01634 890300
NHS Choices
Information on healthy living
Health Network
Get involved with your local NHS and for NHS
West Kent to seek your opinion. For more
information go to
or telephone NHS West Kent on 0800 0 850 850
Age Concern Malling
01732 873977 www.ageconcernmalling.org.uk
01732 848008 Daycare
Age Concern Tonbridge
01732 366100
Age Concern Tunbridge Wells
01892 522591
P ositive Ageing Tonbridge
01732 354775
Carers First - Tonbridge,Tunbridge Wells,
Sevenoaks, Edenbridge and surrounding areas
01732 357555 www.carersfirst.org.uk
Citizens Rights for Older People
01622 812228 www.cropkent.org.uk
Tonbridge & Malling Access Group
Tunbridge W ells Access Group
North West Kent Carers Support Service
01322 662046 nwkcarers@carerskent.org
Carers Project
01622 685276 www.vam-online .org.uk
Carers Direct
0808 802 0202 CarersDirect@nhschoices.nhs.uk
0808 808 7777 info@carersuk.org
0845 450 0350 www.crossroads.org.uk
North West Kent Independent Advocacy
Scheme Dar
tford & Gravesham
07886 672254 or 07886 104109
Assert - Advocacy Service
01892 542088
Kent Advocacy for Disabled People
01622 725282
Maidstone Gateway
King Street, Maidstone ME15 6JQ.
01622 602000
Tunbridge W ells Gateway
Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2AB.
01892 526121
Tonbridge Gateway
onbridge Castle, Castle Street,
Tonbridge TW9 1BG.
01732 876322
To enquire about a Gateway in your area please
call 08458 247 247.
The Good Neighbour Project
Help with befriending and exercise or falls
prevention. For further information please
contact Kent Adult Social Services
08458 247 100 or look on the website
www.kent.gov.uk and search for Brighter Futures.
Dartford Borough Council
Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford,
ent DA1 1DR.
01322 343434 www.dar tford.gov.uk
Dartford Librar y
Central Park, Dartford, Kent DA1 1EU.
01322 221133
Age Concern Dartford
Meadow Day Centre, Meadowside,
tford, Kent DA1 2LS. 01322 226496
Rural Age Concern Darenth Valley
37 High Street, Swanley, Kent BR8 8AE.
01322 666118 or 01322 668106
Out of hours 07889 133633
Dartford Citizens Advice Bureau
Trinity Resource Centre, High Street, Dartford,
ent DA1 1DE. 01322 224686
Volunteer Centre Dar tford District
33 Essex Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 2AU.
01322 272476 www.dar tfordvb.org
01474 566283
Turning Point West Kent
Dartford Substance Misuse Ser vice
4A-6A Hythe Str
eet, Dartford, Kent DA1 1BS.
01322 278916
MIND - Dartford, Gravesham & Swanley
The Almshouse, 18 West Hill, Dar tford,
ent DA1 2EP.
01322 291380 www.dgsmind.co.uk
Alzheimer & Dementia Support Service
Dene Holm House, Dene Holm Road,
Northfleet, Gravesend DA11 8JY.
01474 533990 www.alzheimers-dementia.org.uk
Invicta Advocacy Network (and IMCA)
Mental Health Advocacy Ser vice
First Floor
, 7/9 Hythe Street, Dartford,
Kent DA1 1BE. 01322 285234
Acacia Hall
(A Dar
tford Borough Council facility)
01322 343490
Rehabilitation Circuit Tues 12.30-13.45
Cardiac Rehabilitation Circuit Wed 13.30-14.45
Over 50’s - Mon 10am-11am and 13.30-15.30
and W eds 13.30-15.30
Rethink Sahayak
Support Services to the BME community who
use Mental Health Ser
4-5 High Street, Gravesend, Kent DA11 0BQ.
01474 364837 or 01474 364498
Gravesend Borough Council
Civic Centre,Windmill St, Gravesham,
ent DA12 1AU.
01474 337000 www.gravesham.gov.uk
Gravesend Library
Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent DA11 1BE.
01474 352758
Age Concern Gravesend
Day Centre , Clarence Row, Gravesend,
ent DA12 1HJ.
01474 564898 www.gravesendageconcern.co.uk
Rural Age Concern
27-37 High Street, Swanley, Kent BR8 8AE.
01322 666118 www.ageconcern.org.uk
Gravesend Citizens Advice Bureau
44 Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1BA.
8-9 Par
rock Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1ET.
01474 361239 www.gravesham.gov.uk
Kent DA12 1B A. 01474 322729
In Touch Home Improvement Agency
Dartford & Gravesham 01474 566283
Turning Point West Kent
Substance Misuse Ser vice , 4a-6a Hythe Street,
tford, Kent DA1 1BS. 01322 278916
Gravesham MIND
The Almshouse, 18 West Hill, Dar tford,
ent DA1 2EP.
01322 291380 www.dgsmind.co.uk
Alzheimer & Dementia Support
Dene Holm House, Dene Holm Road,
Northfleet, Gravesend, Kent DA11 8JY.
01474 533990 www.alzheimers-dementia.org.uk
Rethink Sahayak
Support Services to the BME community who
use Mental Health Ser
4-5 High Street, Gravesend, Kent DA11 0BQ.
01474 364837 or 01474 364498
Mental Health Advocacy Ser vice
1st Floor
, 7-9 Hythe Street, Dartford,
Kent DA1 1BE. 01322 285234
Maidstone Borough Council
Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone ,
ent ME15 6JQ.
01622 602000 www.digitalmaidstone .co.uk
Maidstone Librar y
St Faiths Street, Maidstone , Kent ME14 1LH.
01622 752344 www.kent.gov.uk
Age Concern Maidstone
11 Mill Street, Maidstone , Kent ME15 6XH.
01622 753618 www.ageconcernmaidstone .org.uk
Maidstone Citizens Advice Bureau
2 Bower Mount Road, Maidstone, Kent ME16 8RY.
01622 752420 www.citizensadvice .org.uk
Maidstone Volunteer Centre - Voluntary
Action Maidstone (V
39-48 Marsham Street, Maidstone , Kent ME14 1HH.
01622 677337 www.vam-online .org.uk
In Touch Home Improvement Agency -
Maidstone Community Support Centre
39-48 Marsham Str
eet, Maidstone,
Kent ME14 1HH. 01622 765496
Turning Point Substance Misuse Ser vice
49 Marsham Street, Maidstone , Kent ME14 1EH.
01622 690944
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 58
MIND - Maidstone
23 College Road, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6YH.
01622 692383
Alzheimer & Dementia Support
Maidstone and Rural Communities Branch
Alzheimers Society
Room 1,
North Wing,Turkey Court,Turkey Mill,
Maidstone, Kent ME14 5PP.
01622 609060
Rethink Sahayak
Support Services to the BME community who
use Mental Health Ser
4-5 High Street, Gravesend, Kent DA11 0BQ.
01474 364837 or 01474 364498
Advocacy Services
For people with Learning Disabilities
anguard House, 111 Mills Road, Quarr y Wood
Estate, Aylesford, Maidstone , Kent ME20 7NB.
01622 793050
Sevenoaks District Council
Council Offices,Arg yle Road, Sevenoaks,
ent TN13 1GN.
01732 227000
Age Concern Sevenoaks and District
The Old Meeting House, St John's Road,
venoaks, Kent TN13 3LR.
01732 454108
Rural Age Concern Darenth Valley
37 High Street, Swanley, Kent BR8 8AE.
01322 666118 or 01322 668106
Out of hours 07889 133633
KCC Social Ser vices - Sevenoaks Area
Including Telecare and Telehealth Services
Adult Ser
vices, Kent County Council, Brenchley
House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1RF.
01732 525000 or 01732 585320
Lifeline for the Elderly
To apply for an aler t button incase of emergency
or fall
Kent County Council Brenchley House
County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1RF.
01732 780999
Sevenoaks Citizen Advice Bureau
Buckhurst Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 1HW.
01732 454443 www.sevenoakscab.org.uk/
Swanley & District Citizens Advice Bureau
16 High Street, Swanley, Kent BR8 8BG.
01322 664949 swanley.cab@dial.pipex.com
Edenbridge Citizens Advice Bureau
68 High Street, Edenbridge , Kent TN8 5AB.
01732 865131 edencab@dial.pipex.com
Residents Associations in Sevenoaks
Hospitals in Sevenoaks District
e Community Hospital
Mill Hill, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 5DA.
Sevenoaks Community Hospital
Hospital Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3PH.
01732 862137 or 01732 470200
Volunteer Centre Sevenoaks
Volunteer Driving and Transpor t Ser vice ,
Befriending and
Brighter Futures Team,Volunteer Centre ,
Bradbourne School, Bradbourne Vale Road,
Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3LE.
01732 454785
Volunteer Centre Swanley
Volunteer Driving and Transpor t Ser vice ,
Befriending and
Volunteering Volunteer Centre
Swanley Library and Information Centre, London
Road, Swanley, Kent BR8 7AE.
0845 241 2180
Alzheimer's Society
Park Lodge, Goldsmid Hall,Tudeley Road,Tudeley,
onbridge, Kent TN11 0NW.
01732 370330
Sencio Community Leisure
Prime Time Leisure activities for over 50’s
White Oak Leisur
e Centre, Hilda May Avenue ,
Swanley, Kent BR8 7BT.
Sevenoaks Leisure Centre
Buckhurst Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 1LW.
01732 470700
Edenbridge Leisure Centre
Stangrove Park, Edenbridge , Kent TN8 5LU.
01322 662188 or 01732 865665
Carers First Tonbridge
192 High Street,Tonbridge , Kent TN9 1BE.
01732 357555 www.carersfirst.org.uk
Help the Aged Handy Van
Home Suppor
t Ser vice
0845 026 1055 www.helptheaged.org.uk
SeniorLine 0808 800 6565
West Kent Housing Association
Sheltered and supported housing
101 London Road,
Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 1AX.
Community Safety Team
Crime and anti-social behaviour issues,
unity Safety Co-ordinator, Sevenoaks
District Council,Arg yle Road, Sevenoaks,
Kent TN13 1GN.
01732 227000 www.sevenoaks.gov.uk
MIND - Sevenoaks area
34 St Johns Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3LW.
01732 459998
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council
Gibson Building, Gibson Drive , Kings Hill,
est Malling, Kent ME19 4LZ.
01732 844522
www.tmbc .gov.uk
Age Concern Malling
Rotar y House , Norman Road,West Malling,
ent ME19 6RL.
01732 873977
01732 848008 Daycare
Age Concern Tonbridge
5 Bradford Street,Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1DU.
01732 366100
Carers First Tonbridge
192 High Street,Tonbridge , Kent TN9 1BE.
01732 357555 www.carersfirst.org.uk
P ositive Ageing Tonbridge
7 Cranford Road,Tonbridge , Kent TN10 4NL.
01732 354775
Tonbridge & Malling Access Group
Citizens Rights for Older People
Barham Court Business Centre,Teston,
, Kent ME18 5BZ.
01732 812228
Tonbridge Citizens Advice Bureau
3-4 River Walk, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1DT.
01732 350099 www.tonbridgecab.org.uk
In Touch - Mid & West Kent Home
ovement Agency
2 Kings Hill Avenue , Kings Hill,West Malling,
ent ME19 4AQ. 01732 525520
Tonbridge Volunteer Centre
3 St Mar y’s Road,Tonbridge , Kent TN9 2LD.
01732 357978 www.tonbridgevolunteers.org.uk
Malling Volunteer Centre
18 Twisden Road, East Malling, Kent ME19 6SA.
01732 843346
HI Kent
(information for the hearing impaired)
01622 691151 www.hikent.org.uk
Kent Adult Social Services
08458 247 247 out of hours, weekends, bank
ys 0845 762 6777
Tonbridge Librar y
Avebury Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1TG.
01732 352754
Alzheimer & Dementia Support
Alzheimer’s Society, Park Lodge , Goldsmid Hall,
Tudeley Road, Tudeley , Tonbridge, Kent TN11 0NW.
01732 370330 www.alzheimers-dementia.org.uk
Tunbridge Wells Community Safety
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Town Hall, Mount Pleasant Road,Tunbridge Wells,
ent TN1 1RS.
01892 526121
Tunbridge W ells Library
Mount Pleasant Road,Tunbridge Wells,
ent TN1 1RS.
01892 522352
Age Concern Tunbridge Wells
W ood Street, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2QS.
01892 522591
Tunbridge Wells Citizens Advice Bureau
31 Monson Road,Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1LS.
0844 4994140 www.citizensadvice .org.uk
Tunbridge W ells V olunteer Centre
W ood House, Wood Street, Tunbridge W ells,
ent N1 2QS.
01892 540131
Tunbridge W ells Access Group
(Voluntary Group working for better access in
the T
unbridge W ells Borough Area)
01892 822705 or Lynda.twaccess@btinternet.com
In Touch -
Mid & West Kent Home Improvement Agency
2 Kings Hill Avenue , Kings Hill,West Malling,
Kent ME19 4AQ. 01732 525520
Turning Point West Kent
Substance Misuse Ser vice , 58 Tunnel Road,
unbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2BU. 01892 534422
Alzheimer & Dementia Support
Alzheimer’s Society, Park Lodge , Goldsmid Hall,
Tudeley Road, Tudeley , Tonbridge, Kent TN11 0NW.
01732 370330 www.alzheimers-dementia.org.uk
Every effort has been made to keep the information in this booklet up-to-date and accurate. However, we cannot guarantee
that inaccuracies won’t occur. Kent County Council, its employees or par tner agencies won’t be held responsible for any
loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of reliance on such information.
6454-Kent Bookmarked:Layout 1 9/9/09 14:06 Page 60
This booklet is about making the most of life as you get older, and tells you where to
find information if you need suppor t.
If you need help or support to understand this information, please contact us at the
West Kent Customer Care Team.
This publication can also be supplied in braille, audio or large print if requested.
An interpreting service is available for those who need it.
For this inf
ormation in your own language , please contact West Kent Customer Care on:
01732 525187
Designed and printed by Coles McConnell Ltd, Maidstone.
© 2009
All Rights Reserved. www.coles-mcconnell.com