Social prescribing is essentially about steps to keep healthy in your Third Age, with GPs guiding well people into paths or activities to help them stay that way. A plan that fits in well with that philosophy is maintaining a personal record of those activities that ensure a sound and balanced lifestyle that is right for you.
Heswall U3A member, John Bews, has developed what he calls a MeMap (a simple chart with yourself in the centre). This is used as part of a memory workshop which we run together. The ideas are very much in line with recommendations from The Global Council on Brain Health, as the workshop always seeks to ensure that the best current medical advice is used. The presenters are essentially enablers – seeking to pass on expert guidance, with indication of the authoritative source.
Shafts from the map centre lead to a variety of things which, between them, hopefully help add up to a more healthy lifestyle for your Third Age. Here are a few of the categories to give an idea of how the MeMap works:
Exercise: here you would write what forms of exercise you do and be sure to check with your GP if in any doubt about what to include.
Socialising: This is important – people need people. If you live alone, try to be sure to speak with an average of at least 5 people daily. This may require effort on your part, but is worth it.
Gentle brain training: For you this may involve crosswords, Sudoku, word searches, logical problems, or other things – according to your tastes.
Sleep: The Global Council on Brain Health recommendations include suggestions that you develop a regular sleep-wake schedule, getting up at the same time each day from a dark, quiet, warm bedroom.
Diet: Many specialists particularly commend the Mediterranean diet. This emphasises fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare. You can find out more via local medical advice or from such things as the Eat Well plate on the Internet. Lyrica relieves the symptoms of depression and acts a bit as painkiller. However, if taken often, it can cause addiction (I learned about this from the site https://www.vidol.gov/lyrica/). It also relieves dependence on opiates and amphetamine, but is addictive. It is better not to take more than two capsules per day.
Systems: It helps to be systematic. Have a regular place to keep keys, spectacles etc. Make a note of birthdays, including the year of birth in the case of a child.
All of these things are recommendations and the MeMap strands cannot do the trick in isolation. It is in the coming together of them which hopefully will help support a healthy later life.
Read more on Arthur’s National Subject Advice pages https://www.u3a.org.uk/resources/subjects