A FORMER builder living with heart and kidney failure has described how hospice courses have helped him to relax.

Ivan Tye, who lives in Worcester, began attending Living Well courses at St Richard’s Hospice earlier this year.

The free sessions he attended included the six-week Coping with Illness course, which offers practical and emotional coping strategies – including dealing with stress, worry and fatigue.

The 83-year-old, who lives with his wife Cynthia, also attended a course around managing breathlessness, which is a symptom of his condition.

“It taught me how to get my breath,” explained Mr Tye. “I can sit more comfortably in a chair but I can’t do the things I used to do. It has helped me relax, that is what I have found. Before I came here, I couldn’t relax.”

The sessions attended by Mr Tye are part of the hospice’s Living Well programme which runs on Fridays at its base in Wildwood Drive, Worcester.

Living Well offers a range of courses – including t’ai chi, fatigue management and arts – aimed at supporting patients with serious, progressive illnesses to learn new skills and techniques to manage their symptoms at home.

It also offers patients, their loved ones and carers the chance to meet others in a similar situation and share experiences.

Mrs Tye, 79, said: “It is a break because I know he is being cared for. It gives me time to relax up to a point. I didn’t want to come – I didn’t know what to expect. When I walked in [to the hospice], it was peace – tranquillity. From the moment you get in it is welcoming.”

Living Well courses are open to people living with a serious, progressive illness such as cancer, heart failure, respiratory conditions, Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease and who are registered with a south Worcestershire GP.

To discuss the Living Well courses, call 01905 763963 or see strichards.org.uk/live-well