Getting out and about or staying in touch with friends and family and taking part in social activities are all important parts of living a happy and independent life.
There are lots or services and organisations which run local activities and events and provide transport. There is a real mix of activities available so you should be able to find something that appeals to you.
There is a lot of equipment which can help you stay in touch.
Everyday new technology is being developed, and things like smart phones and tablet computers are becoming cheaper and easier to use.
You may want to consider having a phone with large buttons or picture buttons, a smart phone or tablet with a big screen display / louder sound. There are also magnifiers for computer screens.
If you are struggling to stay in touch because of vision or hearing problems there is specific equipment available, like amplified phones, and professionals who can help you to find the right solution.
The choice can be daunting so it’s a good idea to get some independent advice about what is available and where you can buy it from.
You can find a range of equipment and technology suppliers who can offer you support on Staffordshire Connects.
The Support for Independent Living in Staffordshire (SILIS) service can also offer support and advice on how ways to enhance your independence.
The motability scheme also provides an affordable, worry-free way for people with disabilities to lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair in exchange for their mobility allowance.
Computer / Digital skills courses
If you’ve never really used a computer before but want to learn, there are basic computer skills courses running all over Staffordshire.
You can attend a course to learn about using computers to communicate with friends and to search for information online. The adult and community learning service offer a wide range courses and work closely with the local libraries where you access the computers free of charge. Phone: 01543 510710 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Help getting out and about
Some areas in Staffordshire have community transport schemes that you can use to get out and about such as visiting your local dentist, doctor or hair dresser.
To find a scheme near you visit Staffordshire Connects and choose from a scheme in your local area.
Shopmobility is a service that can help those with mobility problems to get around town centres independently, with freedom, confidence and dignity.
The National Federation of Shop Mobility has a directory where you find your nearest scheme.
You do not have to be registered as disabled, have a blue badge, or be in receipt of disability benefits to take advantage of any Shopmobility service.
Bus passes and planning a journey
Once you reach state pension age you can have a bus pass which gives you free off-peak travel on local buses. Adults with disabilities may also be able to apply.
If you need information about planning a journey by train or bus, you can find information on the Staffordshire County Council website.
There are links to bus and train timetables, as well as updates to bus services and how to apply for a bus pass.
Blue Badge scheme
Blue badges are for drivers, passengers or children with severe mobility problems and for those who are registered blind.
You can apply online for a blue badge on the Staffordshire Council website.
There are many befriending schemes that can offer you friendship either face to face or over the telephone.
The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline which offers friendship and advice. You can phone at any time to speak to someone, have a regular weekly catch-up call or take part in regular group calls. Phone 0800 4 70 80 90 at any time to find out more or visit www.thesilverline.org.uk
To find more of these type of schemes both national and local visit Staffordshire Connects.
If you want to go out but are not confident about going by yourself, a volunteer from a local friends group may also be able to help you get out to meet friends and family.
To find a group near you visit Staffordshire Connects. You can then narrow the search to see the groups in your area. All groups offer different services so contact your nearest group to find out how they can help you.
There are also many online forums that you can use to connect to other people.
If you are need of personal care, like washing and dressing, many home care agencies will also support with non personal care needs like shopping and attending a social group with you. We recommend that you contact a couple of agencies to find one that suits your needs and budget.
You could employ a personal assistant to provide you with support especially if you wanted to go away some where. This would mean having the same person that you choose meeting your needs, but you would need to be comfortable with becoming an employer. You can find more information about employing a personal assistant on the Staffordshire County Council website.
If you would like to be matched up with a personal assistant, then the Staffordshire Care Market Development web pages can help you. You will need to create an account and then write a job advert for the type of support you need. You will then be matched with a list of personal assistants that you can choose to employ to help you to meet your needs.