Self Care for Life

Self Care Week 2017 – Embracing Self Care For Life

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important at any age, and includes both physical and mental health. November 13th – 19th is Self Care Week, and raises awareness for the various ways in which local communities can promote self-care as part of a healthy lifestyle across generations and families.

This year’s theme is Understanding Self Care for Life, and aims to encourage individuals of any age to be mindful and proactive in taking control over their health, including how to prevent illnesses, understanding how to tend to minor ailments and controlling long-term health conditions.

With health services in the UK increasingly becoming under strain, it is important to empower people with the confidence of self-care. Encouraging doctors and local healthcare practitioners to educate individuals with the skills for self-care for life can reduce dependency and promote good health within local communities.

However, promoting self-care within the elderly community can be more difficult as they face challenges such as reduced mobility, and health complaints such as arthritis and impaired vision and hearing. Therefore, helping older people carry out self-care practices is important, and there are several ways to encourage the elderly people in our lives to adopt a self-care lifestyle.

Keeping on top of medical check-ups

It’s important that older people visit their GP for regular eye sight and hearing tests, as well as for check-ups for gender-related cancers including prostate and breast cancer, both of which are offered to men and women from the age of 50. People aged 40-74 are also eligible for an NHS Health Check, which is designed to detect the early stages of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart and kidney disease and dementia.

Home-based check-ups are available for those who cannot leave the house, and for individuals with a long-term illness. There are various tools available to remind them to take their medication, from pillbox organisers to digital alarms and written reminders.

You can help the elderly by ensure that all medical reminders and emergency contact information is kept in an easily accessible place, such as on the fridge or next to the telephone, and help them to write down dates and times when scheduling appointments.

Promoting a healthy diet and exercise regime

Eating a balanced diet can be harder for older people, especially those with limited dexterity and mobility who rely on ready meals as opposed to preparing meals from scratch. Many older people often suffer from a loss of appetite too, and so encouraging them to eat smaller, more regular meals can help.

If cooking is not an option for an individual, many companies deliver healthy ready meals on a weekly basis that are easy to prepare and are nutritionally balanced. Ensure that the individual is eating healthy fats and foods that are rich in calcium too, such as avocados and cheese, to promote good bone health.

While physical activity is important as part of a healthy lifestyle, many older people can struggle to incorporate exercise into their regime due to health implications, which in turn can aggravate issues. However, strength-building exercises such as swimming and walking are a great way to promote self-care for life without being overly strenuous for the individual. You may also consider seeking advice from a personal trainer, who can create a tailored exercise regime for an older person.

Ensure that they keep warm over winter

An important part of maintaining self-care for life is ensuring that a person’s living conditions are adequate in both cleanliness and warmth. Older people’s blood pressure can take longer to return to normalcy in lower temperatures, which can also make it harder for the body to resist infections and respiratory diseases.

To ensure that an older person’s house is heated adequately, areas such as the living room and bedroom should be heated to at least 21 degrees, and 18 degrees in other areas of the home. Providing an older person with an ample supply of blankets and warm clothing is also a good way to fight the cold.

Remind them to get their flu jab

People over the age of 65 are more at risk of the flu, so it’s important to ensure that they visit their GP and get their flu jab as part of their self-care regime. Flu jabs are free for anyone over the age of 65, so ensure that an appointment is booked with plenty of time ahead of the winter season.

Having a good understanding of how to maintain good self-care for life practices is important at any age, and educating communities in how to adopt lifestyle changes can help people to live longer, healthier lives.

For more ideas on how to promote self-care for life, head over to the Self Care Forum for online resources and tips. You can also promote the self-care for life campaign via social media.