I explained in my first blog post that I would be focusing on health and ageing – mainly because they have become an inescapable part of my life!! No point in being coy. I am now 72, with six chronic health conditions and I have lived in Kensington and Chelsea, with only a brief gap, since 1966. And so, these are my credentials and reasons for writing about living and ageing in Kensington!! I love the place and feel it is only fair to share experiences and information.

It is perhaps not surprising that I see more of the medical profession than I do some of my oldest and closest friends. I discussed with a couple of those individuals this week about how we are not taught about ageing!! It is something that creeps up on us and, in my case, produces constant surprises – even shocks sometimes.

But, I have realised that with a bit of research there is ‘help’ out there and particularly in Kensington. I am very lucky in that I have a great GP Practice in Stanhope Mews West SW7, two amazing hospitals Royal Brompton and Chelsea and Westminster – they share my care!!

Among my best regular contacts in the medical profession are my practice nurse Louise, health and social care assistant Emma – both based at Stanhope Mews Surgery – and the pharmacists at Tesco Pharmacy, West Cromwell Road. 

If I have a query I get answers. If I need help I get it and if it is not provided at the GP surgery I am referred to a hospital service elsewhere in the borough. It is amazing what exists.

We all agree there is no course out there for ageing. Two recent concerns, arthritis in my hands and in my right knee. Ok, solutions from a variety of sources including Louise and Emma.

A small rubber ball – squeeze regularly to help with hands. Also, fingerless gloves designed for arthritis and I have found two different designs online one soft and the other with greater support. The soft ones I am using now for typing and they help a lot and the firmer ones for going out, particularly in cold weather.

I think it is worth trying supplements and I take Turmeric and Rosehip. For support for the knee – a support bandage that I found, again on line, helps and a stick. I had experienced some falls and so it is good protection, but when I walk with my stick I think Dame Maggie in Downton Abbey!! I found a stick through a company called Easylife with squishy feet and a light built in.

Obviously, these ideas are all worth trying but if it gets too bad, obviously see your GP. Thanks to Emma I have found out that it is possible to ‘self’refer to a physio and podiatrist service https://healthsharelondon.org.uk. It is a service with a full range of therapists and specialists in Central and West London for the right help when you need it for all your joint pain, including back and neck.  

 Painkillers need always to be taken with caution which is why it is really worth trying other solutions first or alongside.

I had to think long and hard about going ahead with this website. I was concerned that whether, with my various health conditions, I could maintain a flow of copy and keep the website going. I am determined to do that. I must manage my health as well as I can and I look to support from friends and colleagues for story leads and ideas.

The best thing about working on the website is keeping the mind alive! And I get a lot of support and laughter from my friend Dolly the terrier cross – loud bark, big personality, small dog!

Ageing and creaking on in Kensington