Dementia & Older Adults - South Cumbria

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Available at the following locations

  • South Cumbria


    Depression and anxiety disorders aren’t just something that affects younger generations. Here at First Step we have no upper age limit to the people we work with and have successfully worked with many people over the age of 65.

    We all worry or feel low from time to time, and usually these feelings fade away on their own. When they don’t just go away or start to interfere with your day to day life, First Step can help you get back on track.

    What we do

    People can often get stuck:

    • Feeling sad, low or depressed
    • Worrying about things
    • Having flashbacks or nightmares about a traumatic incident
    • Having to perform tasks repeatedly, or in a certain way in order to feel better
    • Avoiding places or situations that cause them to feel anxious

    Often when people feel low or anxious they will notice symptoms such as feeling tired all the time, finding it harder to concentrate, physical symptoms such as a racing heart and shortness of breath or changes to their sleep or appetite.

    All of these problems can prevent you from enjoying life to the full.

    Our mental health affects how we think and feel and how we cope with life’s ups and downs

    Do you want to…
    • Cope better with traumatic memories or things that have happened to you?
    • Overcome panic?
    • ‘Pick up the pieces’ after setbacks in life have left you feeling sad, down or hopeless?
    • Feel more confident in crowded places or travelling on public transport?
    • Worry less, feel more relaxed and enjoy life more?
    • Learn new ways of keeping low mood or depression at bay?
    • Free yourself from obsessional behaviours such as excessive checking or washing?
    • Feel less anxious around people?

    It’s never too early or too late to ask for help

    Myth: Depression is an inevitable part of getting older.
    Fact: Age alone is not a risk factor for depression. Older people have lower rates of depression than working age adults.

    Myth: Depression in later life can’t be treated effectively.
    Fact: National and local recovery rates for depression in older adults show that when older people access talking therapies they do better than those under 65.

    Myth: Older people are unable to learn or change.
    Fact: Older people are less likely to drop out of therapy than younger people.

    First Step offer talking therapies for depression and anxiety disorders for adults at every stage of life. If you think you might benefit from the service we offer, please look around our website to find out more about what we do.

    Frequently asked questions:

    How do I get an appointment?

    We ask that everyone refer themselves to the service by completing our online form HERE. You can get help from a family member or friend to complete this form, or if you have difficulty accessing the internet we can send you a paper form. Just give us a call on 01524 550552. Alternatively you can request a referral from your GP or practice nurse.

    What happens then?

    Once you have done this you can call us to arrange your initial assessment appointment which will usually take place on the telephone. The purpose for this phone call is to make sure we offer you the right service at the right time. If we think that First Step is the right service for you, you will then be allocated to a practitioner in your area to commence sessions, usually face to face.

    What if I can’t use the telephone?

    If you feel anxious when talking on the phone, you can have someone help with you with the initial contact. Just make sure you are together when you call, and as long as you tell us it’s okay, we are happy to take your details from a friend or family member.

    If you are hard of hearing, or have any other difficulties with the telephone, please let us know and we can arrange for you to meet face to face with a practitioner for your initial assessment appointment. We are happy for you to bring someone with you to this assessment appointment.

    Can I see an older therapist?

    It will not always be possible to arrange to see someone older. All of our practitioners and therapists in First Step are appropriately trained and supervised and we have practitioners from all age ranges.

    What if I have difficulty getting to appointments?

    We don’t offer home visits in First Step, but some therapies are suitable to be delivered on the phone and we also offer a computerised programme that can be done at home, without the need to attend face to face appointments. If this is something that might help, please let us know.  It may be that if you struggle to get out, another service might be more suitable for you so we would suggest talking to your GP about this first.

    We will try to accommodate you in any way we can, so if we need to provide a ground floor room or if you would prefer to be seen at certain times please let us know. We can’t guarantee that we offer suitable arrangements, but we will try.

    What if I have difficulties remembering things?

    If you find it hard to remember information from your sessions, please discuss this with your practitioner as we can ensure we look for ways to help with this. Memory difficulties are common when we are feeling low or anxious and it may improve. If you are worried about your memory, please do let us know.

    Our launch page provides details of all the different ways you can access First Step.

    How to access the service

    There are three main ways to access help from First Step

    1. Via your GP

    If you think we can help, ask your GP if they think First Step is right for you. If they agree they will refer you to us by sending a completed referral form.  Once we have received this form, you will need to make contact to arrange an appointment.  If we do not receive a referral form from your GP you will need to complete the online questionnaire or request that a questionnaire be posted out to you.  Going through your GP usually leads to a smoother service because this means that they can decide what help will be most useful and they can also share important information with us in the referral letter ahead of the assessment.

    We will then send you a pack of brief questionnaires to help us understand your problems and collect the information we need when we speak to you. One of our practitioners will discuss your problems with you and decide with you what kind of help might be useful.

    2. Via online self- referral

    This link takes you to a short form that will take between five and ten minutes to complete. It will ask about your problems and what you would hope to be different, this helps us to direct you to the most helpful type of treatment.

    Feel free to ask a friend or family member to help you complete the form if you think this might be useful. If you are struggling to complete the form then please speak to your GP and they can also refer you directly.

    You can download and print a copy of our self-referral form off and either post to First Step South Cumbria Referral Hub, Cameron House, White Cross Business Park, South Road, Lancaster LA1 4XF or you can email to the service confidentially at

    Alternatively you can also ring 01524 550552 to request a referral form to be posted to your home address.

    3. Via paper self-referral

    If you are unable to access the form online and want to refer yourself, you can ring the First Step Hub (01524 550552 during normal working hours) and ask for a paper self-referral form to be sent to you in the post. If you find completing forms difficult then we would encourage you ask for help from friends, family or GP staff.

    How to contact us:

    First Step can be contacted using the methods below:

    Phone: 01524 550552


    Post: First Step South Cumbria, Cameron House, White Cross Business Park, South Road, Lancaster LA1 4XF


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