This week (13th-19th November) sees the return of Self Care Week, an annual awareness campaign that focuses on establishing and embedding support for self-care across families, communities and generations. Entitled ‘Embracing Self Care for Life’, this year’s theme is about engaging and empowering people to help keep themselves healthy for their whole lives.
Self-care is about keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself, when a pharmacist can help and when to get advice from your GP or another health professional. On average, seeing a GP costs the NHS £43 for a 12-minute consultation – a visit to Accident and Emergency costs £112.
According to the Self Care Forum, more needs to be done to help support people to take care of themselves and look after their own health. They also believe that empowering individuals has many benefits for both their short-term and long-term health, which is now more important than ever as people are living longer.
This can be as simple as remembering to make time for regular exercise, having a more balanced diet and getting the right amount of sleep. It can also include stopping smoking and better self-treatment for addressing cold and flu symptoms. If you have a long-term condition, it is important to understand the condition and find ways to manage it in order to live independently.
The Self Care Forum wants to further the reach of self-care and embed it into everyday life, making it a lifelong habit and creating a culture change, encouraging better lifestyle choices and prevention, sign posting to health services when is most appropriate.
Helping people to help themselves also reduces the demand on our health and care services, which are under more pressure because of the challenges presented by an ageing population.
Future Care Capital believes that we need to plan and design the provision of health and care for every generation in society if we are to tackle the challenges our services are currently facing. Encouraging individuals to plan ahead and take greater responsibility is very much a part of this. Future Care Capital is also calling for a new settlement for health and care in the form of a Care Covenant, offering greater security for everyone in society. The Care Covenant would acknowledge the rights as well as the responsibilities of the state and citizens in nurturing wellbeing. Self-care, and support to facilitate self-care, will be critically important against such a backdrop.