Category Archives: Health & Wellbeing

FITNESS: Commit This Autumn

Although the nights are drawing in, Autumn is a great time to commit to get fit. Calderdale has many indoor fitness centres and swimming pools and there’s a huge range of classes and course you can participate in as you build up your fitness.

As well as improving your physical wellbeing, exercise is great for your mental health as well and, at a time of year when many people feel down at the prospect of winter’s approach, it’s a brilliant way to fight off the winter-blues.

Visit Calderdale Council’s website for details of facilities, classes and current fitness promotions:

Calderdale’s Fitness and Sports Centres


HEALTH: Report on Incontinence

Leading charities have warned that incontinence is one of the biggest issues for countless people with serious health conditions who they support – but the taboo around the topic forces those affected to struggle in silence.

Ten organisations including Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Marie Curie and Parkinson’s UK held a workshop to discuss common problems and potential solutions with patients, carers, researchers and health and social care professionals. The resulting report recommends tackling the stigma and funding research into this important but often ignored issue.

The report details the daily impact of incontinence on older people and people living with long-term health conditions and terminal illnesses like dementia, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, urinary and gastric issues.

The report authors are calling for evaluation of the economic impact of incontinence, more dedicated services to support people affected, better training for health and care professionals, and investment in research with a focus on non-drug and non-surgical interventions that allow people affected to take control of their own needs.

Lesley Carter, Clinical Lead at Age UK, warned: “Incontinence can have a big impact on an older person’s quality of life, their wellbeing and independence. Too often, people are left to manage alone because they feel too embarrassed to seek help, or when they do, adequate support is not available.

“We urgently need to break the taboo around incontinence, and invest in dedicated services and training for staff to support people to manage incontinence effectively and remain independent. As our population ages, more and more people will be likely to experience incontinence and as a society, we must act now to end the stigma.”

Find out more by downloading the report.

HEALTH: What is Type 2 Diabetes?

How much do you know about type 2 diabetes? According to Age UK, if you’re a man the chances are you don’t know enough, which is why the UK is facing a male diabetes crisis.

Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

“Type 1 diabetes is unavoidable and not preventable,” clarifies Peter Baker, Men’s Health Consultant, “but type 2 diabetes is.”

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, resulting from the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Insulin controls blood sugar levels and when there isn’t enough of it in the body, blood sugar levels go up.

Type 2 diabetes, however, is characterised by the body losing its ability to produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body not being able to react to insulin. This too can lead to high levels of blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes is often linked to being overweight.

The size (and cost) of the problem

“We face an extraordinary problem with [type 2] diabetes and men in the UK,” explains Peter. “We’re failing on prevention, early diagnosis and outcomes for complications resulting from it. It’s costing billions of pounds to treat.”

The cost to the NHS is reported more than £1.5 million an hour, or 10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales. “The tragedy of it is that many of these cases are preventable,” says Peter.

The battle ahead

“Diabetes is a problem for both sexes,” says Peter, “but cases are going up particularly sharply for men. One in 10 men now has diabetes, and men are 26% more likely to have it than women, and more likely to have undiagnosed diabetes too.”

The importance of getting checked out

Peter suggests that men are more likely to get a later diagnosis because they fail to recognise the symptoms of diabetes – such as feeling fatigued and urinating more than usual, particularly at night – and therefore don’t seek help. They’re also less likely to go and see a GP or attend health checks, despite the fact that every man between 40 and 74 is entitled to a free NHS health check every few years.

“Women are also entitled to them on an equal basis, of course,” adds Peter, “but men are less likely to turn up when invited. Those health checks are designed to detect diabetes and heart disease.”

Dangerous complications

Of the estimated £14 billion pounds a year spent on treating diabetes, the majority goes on its complications, such as foot ulcers, which men experience more than women. “We don’t fully understand why men suffer from complications more,” says Peter. “It may be that men aren’t managing their conditions as well, but that hasn’t been proven. There may be a biological reason, but that’s an area that needs more investigation.”

Diabetes in older age

“A diagnosis of diabetes can happen at any time,” says Peter. “People don’t just suddenly become diabetic. It’s a process that happens over time and [type 2] can be reversed. The obvious things that people need to do is to have a healthy diet, be physically active and keep an eye on your weight. If you do that at any age, it reduces your risk of diabetes as well as your risk of heart disease and cancer.”

What to do if you’re diagnosed with diabetes in later life

“Having a healthy diet and being physically active can be an important part of the treatment,” explains Peter. “There is evidence that you can treat your diabetes effectively by losing weight. Some people’s diabetes can disappear as a result of weight loss, although the weight loss might have to be significant.

“Another important element is to learn to manage your condition effectively: have regular check-ups, follow the advice that you’re given, take the medication you’re prescribed, and seek help if anything doesn’t feel right.”

In summary

  • Men are more at risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
  • Men are more likely to be diagnosed later.
  • Complications, like foot ulcers, are more common in men
  • The symptoms of diabetes can be improved, and even reversed, through healthy diet and exercise.
  • Having check-ups and following your prescribed treatment is vital to managing diabetes effectively.

Cut your risk of diabetes

HEALTH: Blood in urine campaign

The NHS is currently running a “Be Clear On Cancer – Blood In Pee Campaign”

The message from the campaign is simple: if you notice blood in your pee, even if it’s ‘just the once’, tell your doctor.

Blood in your pee could be a sign of bladder cancer or kidney cancer, which is why it’s so important to see your doctor straight away. Chances are it’s nothing serious, but you’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting it checked out.

More information about the campaign here:

DOG FOULING: Reporting

Unfortunately there are still some dog owners who act irresponsibly and do not clean up after their dog. This can be a particular problem for older people, children and people with reduced mobility. Often an isolated offender can cause a considerable problem in a specific location.

You can assist Calderdale Council to combat the problem by reporting offenders to Environmental Health by going online, telephoning or emailing Customer First. It is helpful if you can provide as much information as possible such as:

– The exact location where the offence took place
– Date and time of the offence
– Type of dog
– Description of the offender or if known the name and address of the offender
– Vehicle description or if known vehicle registration details
– photographs

by e-mail to: or telephoned to 01422 288002

DEMENTIA: Daisy’s Cafe

Daisy’s Cafe Todmorden

Julieanna will provide the music at Daisy’s Café at Todmorden Health Centre Saturday, August 4th.  The café is on from 11am until 1.30pm and is run by Dementia Friendly Todmorden. Everyone is welcome, and the group will be offering their usual support, advice and information for people affected by dementia along with their families and carers. As well musical entertainment, the café will be serving soup and sandwiches with coffee and juice for £2.50, or drinks and biscuits for £1.50.

GARDENS: Design for older people

The Sensory Trust is a leading authority on inclusive and sensory design. They use nature and the outdoors to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with disability and health issues, their families and carers. Their website is full of inspirational ideas and well worth a visit. We particularly enjoyed their feature on making landscapes, in particular gardens, both public and private, safer for older people.

They consider each issue from three angles: Characteristic; Implications for design; and Design solutions

Characteristic: Reduced mobility (ability to get around)
Implications for design: Access is limited by obstacles like steps, uneven surfaces, gradients, slips and trips
Design solutions: Reduced gradients; choice of ramp and steps; level, firm surfaces; handrails and supports; design for wheelchairs and mobility aids

Characteristic: Reduced stamina (tiring easily)
Implications for design: Distance and gradients become a significant issue
Design solutions: Seats to reduce impact of distance and grades; choice of route lengths; maximise interest within easy reach

Characteristic: Reduced dexterity (eg from arthritis, Parkinson’s)
Implications for design: Fine motor skills are more difficult and can be painful – turning handles, locks etc
Design solutions:  Choose easy-to-use handles, gate latches, locks etc

Characteristic: Falls and impaired balance
Implications for design: Reduced confidence to go out and higher risk of injury
Design solutions:  Good access, low impact hard surfaces , careful siting of furniture and features, handrails and supports

Characteristic: Visual impairment
Implications for design: Items like furniture, signboards and steps can become hazards if not well designed
Design solutions: Careful siting of furniture and signage, good colour contrast, tactile indicators, sensory design to cater for all senses, remove hazards

Characteristic: Hearing impairment
Implications for design: Not alert to aural cues eg alarms and approaching traffic
Design solutions: Include visual alarms and clearly differentiate vehicular and pedestrian routes

Characteristic: Alzheimer’s, dementia
Implications for design: Reduced ability to cope with complex designs, reduced memory, may want to wander
Design solutions: Legible designs, familiar settings and detail, design for reminiscence, safe materials, secure and comfortable

Characteristic: Sensitivity to weather
Implications for design: Need for protection from weather extremes
Design solutions: Shelter, shade, use of indoor/outdoor spaces eg conservatories