International Self-Care Day is July 24, 2022!
Written by: Taylor Devlin, General Manager
July 24 is International Self-Care Day—an opportunity to raise awareness about life-long self-care and the important role it plays in leading a healthy lifestyle. The date chosen for International Self-Care Day (7/24) is a reminder that self-care is important to lifelong health, and that its benefits are experienced 7 days a week, and 24 hours a day.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability. Through self-care people can be healthier and remain so into old age, managing minor ailments themselves. We can also better manage, delay or even prevent the appearance of lifestyle diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and many cancers. It does not replace the healthcare system but instead provides additional choices and options for healthcare.
On average individuals spend less than 1 hour a year with a health worker versus over 8,700 hours a year in self-care. Self-care interventions promote individuals’ active participation in their own healthcare and lead to greater self-determination, self-efficacy, autonomy, and engagement in health.
What are Self-Care Health Interventions?
Self-care interventions include evidence-based, quality drugs, products, devices, programs, and tests that can be provided fully or partially outside formal health services and can be used with or without a health worker. Excellent examples of quality, cost-effective self-care interventions include self-monitoring blood pressure and blood glucose, counselling, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and exercising.
Self-Care in Healthcare
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the unique and critical role that self-care interventions have played in mitigating disease and saving lives through personal self-care actions such as wearing masks and physical distancing, and prioritization at national levels of self-care interventions that people can use during the period of lockdown.
Self-care is a potential win-win opportunity for all stakeholders in health. It can be a win for governments through healthier, more productive citizens and reduced pressure on health and social system services and budgets. It can be a win for healthcare professionals – doctors and nurses will have more time to focus on keeping people well and for more serious cases, and pharmacists will be able to offer a wider range of health and wellness services.
Many countries have incorporated aspects of self-care into policies and promoted some innovations and notable practices. However, all countries are a long way from implementing meaningful policy prescriptions designed to promote individual and population self-care capabilities, shift professional practices, or reorient healthcare systems towards a preventative ethos. While the importance of a preventative health model has been acknowledged in theory and some global policies, we are a very long way from real transformation.
Self-care needs to have a much higher profile as a necessary element to the health of the population and individuals!
How U-Turn Parkinson’s Supports Self-Care
Before recommending specific self-care interventions, it is important to have evidence that they are beneficial to health and cause no harm at individual and/or population levels. In addition, assessing and ensuring an environment in which self-care interventions can be made available in safe, appropriate and accessible ways must be a key initial piece of any self-care intervention.
At U-Turn Parkinson’s we aim to provide individuals living with Parkinson’s a community space as mentioned to participate in self-care, whether it be physical activity, singing, or educational sessions about Parkinson’s disease. Our programs are also evidence-informed and designed specifically for people living with Parkinson’s disease. We actively consult with a Medical Advisory Committee and researchers when developing programs and assessments, and U-Turn Parkinson’s is in the process of starting a Community Advisory Committee to ensure the voice of people affected by Parkinson’s disease is integrated throughout U-Turn Parkinson’s programs, initiatives, services, and areas of work.
The Seven Pillars of Self-Care
The seven pillars of wellness you will want to consider when thinking about your self-care include:
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