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Staying active if you’re living with a terminal illness

Posted on: 16 March 2017 by 50connect editorial

If you or someone you love is living with a terminal illness, one of the biggest challenges is adapting to the effects the illness can have on your body.

Staying active with a terminal illness

This March, Marie Curie is calling on people to support the Great Daffodil Appeal so their nurses can care for more people living with a terminal illness, and their families. If you or someone you love is living with a terminal illness, one of the biggest challenges is adapting to the effects it can have on your body.

In this article, Karen Turner, Clinical Lead Physiotherapist at the Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead, offers her tips for dealing with physical changes.

Set realistic goals

It’s amazing to see what many people can achieve with some support, encouragement and advice. When we work with a patient, we aim to set realistic goals that are meaningful to them. Maybe someone wants to get to the shops, brush their teeth or walk up the stairs. Together, we break down the activity into smaller parts to build up strength and confidence. We work to achieve their goals and if the goalposts change, we adapt and set new ones.

Every day is different 

Try and keep active when you feel you’re able to. Sometimes you’re going to feel unable to do anything, and that’s okay – remember that you can try again, and be active the next time you feel up to it.

Pace yourself

Pace yourself 

It’s important to pace your activity – maybe you can’t do as much as you could before, so plan on doing the same kind of activity but not as often. Try and keep the same level of activity for as long as you’re able, but remember that it’s OK to adapt to your changing limits.

Work those quads!

For those who have the use of their legs and lower body, your quadriceps (which are the muscles on the front of your thigh) are the most important muscles for day-to-day function. Keep them and your bottom muscles as strong as you can for as long as possible by doing things like step-up exercises, sitting down and straightening your legs out, and standing up and down and squeezing your bottom cheeks together.

Reach out for support

Reach out for help 

Make sure you’re aware of the local services that can support you. Consult your doctor, GP or district nurse for more information.

Marie Curie cares for people living with terminal illness, and their families, offering expert guidance and support to help them get the most from the time they have left. This March, support the Great Daffodil Appeal to help Marie Curie Nurses be there for more people who need them.

Donate and wear your daffodil

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