News

How Our Local Cancer Advocacy Programme Makes A Difference

June’s Story

“My name is June. I am 71 and always been very independent and worked with young people. I retired at 68 and was very healthy as I had been all of my life.

I started getting occasional blood in my urine which was treated as a urine infection. As it became more frequent my GP advised I should have tests done. I found going to the hospital very scary as this was something I wasn’t used too. It was arranged for me to have a cystoscopy, and a biopsy was taken.

Part of me believed I was going to be okay as I was never ill. The waiting was awful as I did have some doubt and was more frightened for my family than myself. When I went to see the surgeon for my results with my daughter and grand-daughter I was told I had a very aggressive cancer of the bladder.

I took the news in my stride but my family were devastated. I was absolutely gutted for them. I was then referred to an oncologist at Clatterbridge Hospital who was wonderful. I call him Mr Medicine. He sent me for various tests resulting in my admission to hospital to have part of the tumour removed followed by chemotherapy.

It was planned for me to have further surgery to remove my bladder, uterus and ovaries. Unfortunately, after a further scan I was told the cancer had spread  to my lungs and I couldn’t have the operation. Instead  I had chemotherapy, trial drugs and radiotherapy.  A further planned hysteroscopy was done as they thought the cancer had spread to my uterus. Luckily it was not cancer but polyps and they were successfully removed. I then had a further CT scan and a consultation to discuss my future.

My consultant was very pleased with my progress.  He said he was pleased I had remained so positive  and remained living my life as normal as possible. He also said that in the future I would be eligible for further chemotherapy and new trial drugs.

At present, I feel that I am in a very good place because I now get out more. My appetite has improved and the treatment has worked for me as the tumour in my bladder has shrunk. It has also reduced the tumours in my lungs. When I look back, I was told to enjoy Christmas and New Year the best I could.

Whilst I was having chemotherapy a friend advised me to apply for health benefits. After ringing various numbers someone gave me the number for Knowsley Pensioners Advocacy Information Service (KPAIS).  It was then that Val, an advocate, explained to me about the Cancer Older People and Advocacy project. She arranged to visit me at home.

Val was helpful and understanding. I went through the issues I needed support with. I explained that I had rung several other agencies for help to no avail, and that KPAIS was the only one that said they could help me and that they would visit me at home.

Val gave me information on Lyndale cancer support, a local cancer charity support group, and Age UK’s cancer support for shopping and cleaning services.

I was having real difficulties with my mobility and not able to go out as I was becoming very tired and needed to rest. Val arranged for a walking assessment and the day this was carried out I immediately received a wheeled walker with seat and was able to go shopping the same day with my daughter. I received other aids and adaptions to help me around the home and I also got information on will writers.

She then made all of the necessary phone calls and referrals on my behalf and also helped by filling in my benefits form.

From the minute I met Val, my advocate, I knew I was going to be supported. We discussed all of the issues I had and about claiming benefits.

All of my problems regarding services and support were dealt with by my advocate Val and all resulted in positive outcomes. I received an immediate visit from Sue who came back the same day with a wheeled walker to enable me to go shopping with my daughter and to enable me to stop and rest.

I also had various aids around my house which enable me to stay independent. I received Attendance Allowance which helps me to pay for a cleaner and a laundry service. From meeting Val, the process of accessing services was much easier as she did so much for me. Having an advocate means that any problems are not insurmountable.

In having an advocate, I explain that I am given help and support. She’s not a legal advice giver. She explains things to others from my point of view. My family are really pleased that I have someone who is there for me, and if I have any issues my advocate can and will support me.

I now have peace of mind, and a very valuable support who I never want to stop coming to see me. Thank God I met Val and I have her phone number. She will always be there for me.”

If you are aged 50 + and are living with cancer, have a chat with Val to find out how we can help you –  contact our COPA lead Val McGregor at KPAIS on 0151 449 3706 or email: val.mcgregor@kpais.co.uk

Stories to Highlight the Power of Advocacy

facing-cancer-together-_kpais-website-postKnowsley Pensioners Advocacy and Information Service (KPAIS) provide independent advocacy, one to one support and help for anyone who is over 50 affected by cancer.

Our Cancer, Older People and Advocacy (COPA) service in Knowsley is part of a national programme of  ‘local’ partners who deliver OPAALs flagship project, which supports older people living with cancer and is funded by the BIG Lottery Fund and Macmillan Cancer Support.

OPAAL have produced their latest publication of patient stories and experiences which for us,  illustrate the need and value of peer advocacy services for older people living with cancer.

There are twelve individual stories to read which demonstrate the power of independent advocacy and that “no two people have the same experience of cancer but many people share common issues and concerns”.

One of our clients, June features on page 18 of the publication ‘Facing Cancer Together’ and describes her own journey after being diagnosed with a very agressive cancer of the bladder, how she came into contact with us and the difference our advocacy made to her.

We’d like to thank June for sharing her story and importantly allowing us to publish her account in OPAAL’s facing-cancer-together-publication

If you are aged 50 + and are living with cancer, get in touch with us –  contact our COPA lead Valerie McGregor at KPAIS on 0151 449 3706 or email: val.mcgregor@kpais.co.uk

Exercise is good for you

older poeple olympicsElderly people who exercise ‘live five years longer’ according to a recent study.

Regular physical activity, whatever your age, is beneficial for your heart health and ultimately can help you live longer. Exercise for older people has a powerful effect on life expectancy  – the same in fact – as if you have give up smoking.

With official advice in the UK recommending 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week in the over-65s. There’s lots of activities you can get involved with in Knowsley.

Why not take part in one of Older People’s Fun Olympics training sessions, you can get active and get involved for a small charge of £1 per weekly session.

They meet weekly at 2 local Knowsley venues:

Wednesday’s: 1 – 4pm Kirkby Leisure Centre, Cherryfield Drive L32 8SA

Thursday’s: 1 -3pm Huyton Leisure & Cultural Park, Longview Drive L36 6EG

For more information contact Geoff Lyon on 0151 430 7710 or email ggeofflyon@aol.com

Dementia Awareness Week

dementia-friendsDementia Awareness Week 2015 will take place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 17-23 May.

In the UK there will be 850,000 people with dementia, with numbers set to rise to 1 million by 2025.

As part of Dementia Awareness week KPAIS will be delivering 2 FREE Dementia Friends Awareness Sessions at The Old Schoolhouse in Huyton.

Thursday 21st May 10am – 11am

Friday 22nd May 10am – 11am

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition.

If you would like to attend either of the sessions, call us at KPAIS on 0151 449 3706 or email Pat McCarthy pat.mccarthy@kpais.co.uk

Have Happy Feet in Knowsley with the Podiatry Team

happy feet in knowsleyIf you’re having trouble looking after your feet, you’re not alone. Age UK reports that nearly one in three older people can’t cut their own toenails.

Did you know Knowsley’s Podiatry Team can help and they can offer home visits too for housebound residents.

From day-to-day foot problems including over grown toenails, thickened, fungal or ingrown toenails to corns and calluses, advice on how to look after your feet and what type of shoes to wear.

Access to this Service can also be made by completing  an application form which is available from all Health Centre’s, GP Surgeries – just ask for one.

For more information contact the Podiatry Team in Knowsley on 0151 290 2000.

Brand New Exercise Programme

Exercise programme for over 55sHere’s news of a brand new FREE exercise programme exclusively for Knowsley residents aged 55 plus.

Delivered by Knowsley Falls and Wellbeing Service, the exercise programme is designed to strengthen muscles and bones, as well as improve your balance and mobility.

If you would like to find out more  call the Falls and Wellbeing Service on 0151 244 3362.

100 Dementia Friends in Knowsley

KPAIS 100 Dementia FriendsKPAIS has made 100 Dementia Friends in Knowsley and we are delighted.

We’ve hosted numerous Dementia Friends awareness sessions that have helped residents of all ages have greater insight and awareness about dementia and importantly the small things we can do to help people with the condition.

Our community sessions have helped residents in Knowsley understand what it’s like to live with dementia and importantly turn that understanding into action.

Our 100 milestone has also coincided with the National Dementia Friends Campaign reaching the 1 million milestone (and growing!).

 

 

 

Older People’s groups with IKAN

There’s a group for every day of the week with Knowsley’s IKAN Team and we’ve got them all here!

We know as a local charity for older people, social groups and local activities across Knowsley play a big part in reducing loneliness and improving older people’s health and wellbeing.

Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness owing to loss of friends and family, mobility or income and approximately ten per cent of people over the age of 65 in the UK are lonely all or most of the time.

Take a look at the local activities available CLICK HERE across Knowsley  delivered by the IKAN Team. Please do call IKAN 0800 694 0270 or the individual contact numbers listed on the document before you or your family members attend any of the clubs and activities, to avoid disappointment.

 

FREE Dementia Friends Training with KPAIS

dementia-friendsPeople with dementia get by with a little help from their friends. Did you know anybody can become a Dementia Friend? 

Our KPAIS Team are very pleased to say  – due to popular demand that we’ll be hosting another Dementia Friends awareness community session at the Old Schoolhouse, St Johns Road on Monday 16th February 10am – 11am.

Our Dementia Friends awareness session helps YOU to understand a bit more about dementia and the small things YOU can do to help people with the condition. People with dementia want to carry on going about their daily lives and feeling included in their local community, but they sometimes need a helping hand to do so.

At our session you’ll learn a little bit about what it’s like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. This could be helping someone find the right bus or being patient in a till queue if someone with dementia is taking longer to pay.

We have a number of FREE places available to Knowsley residents of all ages, simply book by calling the KPAIS Team  on 0151 449 3706  or email: pat.mccarthy@kpais.co.uk

 

Silver Club at Kirkby Library

older peoples club_kirkby libNews of a brand new Older Person’s Club taking place every Friday from 10 – 11.30am at Kirkby Library, Norwich Way L32 8XY. 

With lots to make and do, you’ll make new friends and have a bit of fun. From card making, Crochet, knitting, quizzes and talks – everyone will be given a  warm welcome at the Silver Club!

Complimentary drinks are also provided.

For more information call Kirkby Library on 0151 443 4290 or just turn up!