Disability and illness: the perspective of people living with a long-term condition

Milne, Margo; Larkin, Mary and Lloyd, Cathy (2012). Disability and illness: the perspective of people living with a long-term condition. In: Lloyd, Cathy and Heller, Tom eds. Long Term Conditions: Challenges in Health and Social Care. London: Sage, pp. 10–21.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446288757.n3


Demographic changes are certain to mean that there will continue to be an increase in the total number of people with long-term conditions and disabilities in the UK (Office for National Statistics, 2009; Shakespeare and Watson, 2002). Translated into actual numbers, the Office for Disability Issues (2008) estimated that there were nearly 10 million disabled adults in the UK, with around 5 million of these people being over state pension age. The definition of disability used in the collection of these figures was "having a longstanding illness, disability or infirmity, and having a significant difficulty with day-to-day activities". This definition implies a link or overlap between illness and disability, which can be further understood through examining the experiences of people with certain long-term conditions. Using research reports of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as well as my own experience of this condition, this chapter will explore how these blurred boundaries can lead to a range of challenging experiences when receiving health and social care.

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