As the Parish Council’s new Health & Wellbeing Champion I want to help improve the Health and Wellbeing of the Milborne Port Community. If you wish to contact me at any time please email me on rob.lockey@milborneportpc.org.uk, alternatively phone me on 01963 250648 or 07772972594.

HOW’S YOUR HEALTH?

Whatever age we are, it’s important to try to take care of our own health and wellbeing as far as we can, doing things that will help us stay fit and healthy and prevent ill health as we get older. 

With age, we have a higher risk of developing something dangerous like high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes.  Taking a free NHS Health Check can help to spot early signs and help prevent these happening to you, which means you’ll be more likely to enjoy life for a longer time. 

The free NHS Health Check is your chance to get your free mid-life MOT!  For adults in England aged 40-74 without a pre-existing health condition, it checks your circulatory and vascular health and what your risk of getting a disabling vascular disease would be. 

What happens at a free NHS Health Check?

The purpose of the health check is to assess your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 Diabetes, kidney disease, stroke and certain types of dementia.  The test takes around 20-30 minutes and during the check they will:

  • Ask you some simple questions, for example about your family history and any medication you are currently taking
  • Record your height, weight, age, sex and ethnicity
  • Take your blood pressure
  • Do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol and sugar levels – in most cases results are available in just 5 minutes
  • Calculate your risk of developing cardiovascular disease
  • Give you some personalised lifestyle advice to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Send your results to your GP if you are seen by the Outreach Team or a Pharmacist

If you are aged between 40-74, with no pre-existing health conditions, book your free health check by going online to www.somersethealthchecks.co.uk  or email somerset.bookings@thrivetribe.org.uk  or you can call for more information on  01823 261 794 (Mon to Fri 9:00-5:00).

For more information about Wellbeing in South Somerset visit www.wellbeingsouthsomerset.org/

MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH

In England, around 1 in 4 men will have a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during their lifetime.

Statistics show that three times as many men as women die by suicide and that men aged 45-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.  Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.  Men are less likely to access mental health services than women: only 36% of referrals to the NHS are for men.

Some men find it difficult to seek help for any kind of emotional distress, and those who don’t feel able to talk openly about their emotions might be less able to recognise the signs and to reach out for support or talk to friends and family, sometimes using harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol.

However, men will access help that is meaningful and engaging and easy to access.  Sometimes men’s sheds provide a great space for men to get together, doing and making something practical and finding companionship.  There are Sheds across the area – to find your local one go to https://menssheds.org.uk/find-a-shed/ or call 0300 772 9626.

Stepladder is a part of Open Mental Health Somerset and works with communities, groups and organisations across Somerset to find new ways for men to connect, support each other and get help when they need it. To find out more go to the website www.second-step.co.uk/stepladder  or email  stepladdersomerset@second-step.co.uk or call Somerset Mindline which is available 24/7 for more information or if you need to talk on 0800 138 1692

The Open Mental Health Alliance brings together all the mental health support services in Somerset – you can visit the website here – https://openmentalhealth.org.uk/ or call the Somerset Mindline number above.

If you are in crisis and need immediate support, please dial 999 or call the free Samaritans Helpline on 116123.

For more information about Wellbeing in South Somerset visit www.wellbeingsouthsomerset.org/

SUPPORT FOR CARERS

Do you support someone who has a long-term physical or mental illness or problems with alcohol or drugs? 

This person could be your partner, your child, a parent, brother or sister, grandparent, or a neighbour. 

If so, do you

  • Help the person get up, washed and dressed, and with medication?
  • Do lots of things around the house like cooking, cleaning, laundry, fetching and carrying?
  • Give them lots of emotional support, like calming them down when they’re upset & agitated or low?
  • Struggle to concentrate on day-to-day things and feel overwhelmed?
  • Find it difficult to have a social life, see friends or join community activities?
  • Worry a lot about them?
  • Often feel anxious and frightened?

If the answer is yes to any or most of these questions, you could be a Carer and you are not alone – there is support for you!  You might not have thought of yourself as a carer before, because it’s a family member and it’s normal life for you – it’s just what you do!   You may have had to give up work to care for them.

To talk to someone, please get in touch with your GP surgery & ask for the Carers Champion for advice and information.

For information about a range of things that could be helpful to you and to find out where your local Carers Support Group is, you can go to the Somerset Carers website www.somersetcarers.org or call their helpline 0800 31 68 600

If you have a disabled child, call the Somerset Parent Carer Forum – 01458-259384 – https://somersetparentcarerforum.org.uk/

For support and information for Young Carers aged under 18, please call Somerset County Council on 0300 123 2224 or the Somerset Carersserviceon 0800 31 68 600 or go to https://somersetcarers.org/who-can-help-you/somerset-young-carers/

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEING OUTDOORS

Spending time outdoors or bringing nature into your everyday life will greatly benefit your wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors, watching birds and being around animals can have lots of positive effects.

It can:

  • Improve your mood & reduce feelings of stress or anger
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help you feel more relaxed
  • Aid better sleep
  • Improve focus – the natural world allows our brains to take a break from all that mentally drains us
  • Improve physical fitness levels because you are more active
  • Help us heal quicker – following illness or surgery people who have spent time outdoors during their recovery needed fewer pain killers and recovered more quickly
  • Boost our intake of Vitamin D which comes from sunlight – it is essential for bone growth and helps regulate our immune system
  • Support aging – adults over 70 who spent time outdoors experienced fewer sleep difficulties, complained less about aches and pains, and enjoyed improved mobility and ability to perform daily activities
  • Connect you with other people as you pass by and say hello

There are many walking groups and regular organised Health Walks where you can meet with others and have a guided walk led by a trained leader.  These are a great opportunity to be outdoors, connecting with other people and making new friends.  The Milborne Port Health Walk meets every Monday at 10am in East Street car park and to find out where other local health and walking groups are in South Somerset you can call South Somerset District Council on 01935 462462  https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/media/5354/step-out-and-join-our-health-walks-19.pdf  

As a rural county, we are blessed to have some wonderful places to visit such as nature reserves – Somerset Wildlife Trust – for information about wildlife reserves call 01823 652400 or email enquiries@somersetwildlife.org or go to their website: https://www.somersetwildlife.org/wildlife/nature-reserves   

RSPB reserves – for information about RSPB reserves call 01767 680551 or go to https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/

For more information about Wellbeing in South Somerset visit www.wellbeingsouthsomerset.org/

MEMORY LOSS/DEMENTIA

Are you affected by memory loss or dementia?

In the UK one person develops dementia every three minutes.  It turns lives upside-down and there is no cure. Almost everyone knows someone whose life has become affected. Many people living with dementia are often isolated and do not feel part of their local community.

As well as problems with memory, symptoms can include feeling confused, having difficulty thinking things through and following conversations, which impacts on a range of everyday activities, from socialising to shopping and people who have memory loss can feel very isolated.

Locally you can receive support and information about dementia in all its forms, and advice on day-to-day living, benefits and finances, power of attorney, etc.  There are groups such as memory cafes, singing groups and carers groups to help you to feel less isolated and connected with others who understand your situation and can offer support and companionship.  For more information, contact the following organisations:

Alzheimer’s Society based in Langport – 01458 251541 call for advice and support and local information about groups – this number is unmanned but leave a message for call back.  https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/find-support-near-you

Rethink Reconnect – support with housing issues, safety in the home, budgeting, benefits, life skills and improving social networks. https://www.rethink.org/help-in-your-area/services/housing/reconnect-floating-support-service-somerset/   or call 07971963027.

Filo Project – Day care provided in a host’s home – call 0333 9398225 for more information – https://www.thefiloproject.co.uk/

Admiral Nurses – A Royal British Legion service helping the Armed Forces community and their families affected by dementia – call Freephone 0808 802 8080 or visit https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/care-and-independent-living/support-for-carers/admiral-nurses

Somerset Carers Service on 0800 316 8600 to find your local Carers support group(both in-person and online) https://somersetcarers.org/

Dementia Connect Support Line (national) – 0333 150 3456

For more information about Wellbeing in South Somerset visit www.wellbeingsouthsomerset.org/  and specifically for dementia services – https://wellbeingsouthsomerset.org/category/dementia-2/

SINGING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL!

Did you know that, apart from being fun and uplifting, singing has lots of health benefits?

A good sing

  • Relieves stress – singing releases serotonin and dopamine, endorphins known as ‘happy’ chemicals which boost your mood
  • Stimulates your immune responses, helping to fight disease and prolonging life expectancy
  • Releases pain-relieving endorphins, reducing pain & increasing your pain threshold
  • Improves sleep and can reduce snoring
  • Improves lung capacity & clears sinuses and respiratory tubes
  • Improves posture
  • Tones facial and stomach muscles
  • Enhances memory for people with dementia
  • Helps with grief
  • Improves mental health, alertness and mood
  • Improves confidence
  • Helps improve speaking skills
  • And, very importantly – the social benefits are enormous – singing with others widens your circle of friends and develops a great sense of belonging and connection

Give it a try!  Here are some groups you could join – you don’t need to read music or be able to sing in tune either!

Goldies Sing & Smile are fun sessions, singing songs from the 1950’s onwards – all are welcome – just a £3 donation and free refreshments. Goldies sessions are taking place in the Wheathill Close communal lounge in Milborne Port as part of the Tanners group.

Other Goldies groups take place in Bruton Methodist Church (BA10 0BH) on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 2.00-3.00pm, and in Queen Camel (Cleaveside Close communal lounge, BA22 7PR) on the third Thursday of the month from 2.00-3.00pm.

Go to https://www.golden-oldies.org.uk/south-somerset.html or call 01761 470006 for more information.

For general health & well-being information in South Somerset go to www.wellbeingsouthsomerset.org

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