Life isn't a bed of roses, is it?
Are you in control of your life?
Are you in control of your health?
Are there things you want to do that you enjoy?
Or that you just want to achieve before you die?
What makes you want to get up in the morning?
What makes you smile and feel warm inside?
And do you live with ill health which makes these things difficult?
I do. I have several long term conditions that I shall live with and die with. Not necessarily of.
Though if I don't look after myself I might die of them.
What does looking after myself mean?
Well, in my book it's about staying active, engaged in my communities, meeting and talking with people, and doing things that give me pleasure. Like gardening, walking, feeling the wind and rain on my face.
And that might also be called maintaining my wellbeing.
What has this to do with the new report published by National Voices’ Wellbeing Our Way programme that asks What is the role of Voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in care and support planning?
There's now plenty of evidence that improved wellbeing leads to improved health outcomes. And that investing in community based activities and support for people with ill health (or not) is a way of improving wellbeing.
In fact, as the report demonstrates, many projects around the country are able to demonstrate significant Social Return on Investment.
The traditional model of healthcare has been one of health professionals "doing to" rather than "doing with" the patient to either cure them or to provide treatment. The patient often didn't get much say in whether they wanted that treatment, or how they might improve their health in other ways.
Stop smoking. Drink less. Take more exercise. Eat more healthily.
Yeh. Easy, eh?
Patients have been passive recipients of care for decades.
In recent years though things have begun to change. The mantra is now "No decision about me without me". Rightly so, since active participation in one's health care leads to better outcomes, however you measure these.