Phone calls are often unpredicted and it is easy to find yourself using up too much energy. Arranging times for phone conversations in advance can make illness-management a bit easier. It may also help to let the other person know how long you expect to be able to talk for, and perhaps to use a timer (see Pacing for details of a timer). Practice being assertive – "I’m sorry, I’m not up to talking at the moment, can I arrange a time to ring you back?" (See People for details of a MIND booklet on assertiveness). With an answer phone or the 1571 service you can receive messages without needing to answer. Rests will be better quality if you don’t leap up to answer the phone in the middle; you might like to turn the ringing off at these times, or leave only one phone audible. Answer phones can also be used to screen calls so you can choose which ones to answer. Phone 1471 to find out the last number that dialled you. There is a Caller Display service that enables you to tell who is ringing by displaying their number on the screen of your phone. There is also an automatic ‘Reminder Call’ – phone 150 and ask about ‘Select Services’ for charges. To save rushing to the phone when you are up to answering, have extra phones in different rooms, or at least one upstairs and one down. Position them so that you are able to sit or lie down while you talk. Telephone extension leads and cordless phones can be used. Hands-free operation is possible with some telephones, either by means of a headset (which can be used lying down) or a built in speaker and microphone. It may be necessary to speak quite loudly into this kind of microphone. Headsets are loaned free by BT to people with a disability. Some phones also have the ability to amplify outgoing (or incoming) sound. The telephone can be used for shopping, banking, and keeping in touch with friends (a three-way call is possible). If it is easier for you to listen to a conversation than to take part, you could listen while another person talks. With two phones or a hands free phone you can hear both sides of the conversation and participate a bit if you want to. Some carers carry a mobile phone so they can be contacted when they are out. Mobiles are also useful it you are able to go out alone, in case you need to call for a lift, taxi or breakdown service.

Headaches : Pacing : People : Shopping : Speech Difficulties : Visitors