There are many community care services and social services that help people to live independently. Ask at your GP surgery if you need further information.
Dieticians can provide specialist advice on healthy eating, particularly to people who have illnesses that are affected by diet, such as irritable bowel syndrome or heart disease.
Occupational Therapists work with people of all ages who, due to illness, disability or ageing, are experiencing difficulties doing the things they need to, want to or are expected to do. Occupational Therapists help people gain or regain skills, confidence and independence with everyday tasks. This can include providing information and advice; practising alternative ways to do things; suggesting changes to the home environment, for example equipment or adaptations to resolve problems.
Optometrists/opticians carry out eye tests and prescribe lenses for glasses or contact lenses where necessary. They can help diagnose cataracts and identify other conditions which may affect vision in the longer term. People who are over 60 are eligible for free eye tests and some others are entitled to an NHS voucher to help pay for the cost of glasses and contact lenses.
Audiologists carry out various tests to find out whether someone can hear within the normal range. If they cannot, audiologists can find out which portions of hearing (high, middle, or low frequencies) are affected and to what degree. If they find out that there is a hearing loss or something wrong with somebody’s balance, they can recommend different options to the patient as to what is available, such as a digital hearing aid or a referral to an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) consultant.
Physiotherapists provide guidance on exercises and equipment that will loosen stiff joints and muscles and help alleviate pain.
Podiatrists provide foot care, treating bunions, corns and in-growing toenails. You may be entitled to chiropody treatment on the NHS. Ask your doctor for details.
Speech and language therapists can help people having communication difficulties (for example after a stroke). They also help people who are having difficulties eating and swallowing.