World Alzheimer’s Month is observed in September every year and was launched in September 2012. The decision to introduce the full month, to contain the existing World Alzheimer’s Day, was made to enable national and local Alzheimer associations worldwide to extend the reach of their awareness programmes over a longer period of time. Below, we have put together some great resources to help increase awareness.Continue reading “World Alzheimer’s Month”
Having a pet brings many rewards including companionship, affection and exercise. Here are some links that explore this in more details, highlighting how having a pet can benefit your health and well-being in many ways.Continue reading “Pets and Wellbeing”
This week we are talking about running. The benefits of Cardiovascular exercise are numerous, from enhancing mood to strengthening bones, it’s something we should all try to fit into our lives. Here are some resources to help you get started.
Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit. This NHS Couch to 5K will help you gradually work up towards running 5K in just 9 weeks.
Even if you have never run before, follow this straightforward plan for beginners to run 5K without stopping in just eight weeks.
The Fat Girls Guide to Running is the world’s only running resource and support website specifically designed to cater for larger women. They don’t mind how you describe yourself, large, plus-size, overweight, curvy, chunky, voluptuous or simply FAT, the message is the same, if you want to run you should be able to and you should be able to have safe and positive experiences while doing so. Click here to find out more. You can even join hundreds of plus-size runners in their monthly virtual 5K.
Julie is the plus-sized marathon runner from East London behind the global Too Fat to Run? movement which helps women survive and thrive in the sport of running. This talk encourages women to ditch the diets and their fear of judgement and instead focus on true health and happiness, and living a life full of adventure.
Hot on the winged heels of Mental Health Awareness week (thank you to all colleagues and partners who helped get that information out there) we are promoting Dementia Awareness Week (14 to 21 May 2017), an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, in our libraries. There are so many myths around Dementia and that is why we recommend the Reading Well books on prescription dementia list.
This is a varied carefully chosen collection consisting of evidenced and researched information books, alongside fascinating and moving personal histories. It also includes a children’s picture book to help younger readers understand beloved members of their families who have been diagnosed with one of 100 conditions that come under the umbrella of Dementia. Check out the craft book for creative ways of engaging those living well with Dementia. It is a helpful and uplifting collection.
The second initiative I want tell you about is the Dementia Friends sessions happening this week which are run by a trained Dementia champion. They are relaxed and informative sessions that engage us in such a way that unhelpful fears and misinformation around the subject can be openly discussed and real facts and practical tips on creating Dementia friendly services and how to reach out and support those living well with Dementia come to light.
There are Dementia Friends sessions later this week at two libraries in our neighbouring borough, Westminster. These sessions are open to everyone and I urge you to recommend them or even come along yourself:
Health Information Co-ordinator
Read, learn and connect with us during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week –
Libraries’ positive contribution to the mental well-being of the population is well documented – see the Arts Council’s publication on ‘The health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries.’
I say population and not just customers or residents as it has been said that living near a library and, indeed, just walking past a library has a positive effect on one’s emotional and mental well-being.
Of course we in libraries are keen to invite people to come through the doors and experience the well-being benefits first hand. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Surviving or Thriving’ which encourages us to look at our physical and mental well-being.
Some of our offers are more obviously health focused, our health information displays encourage us to feed our brains with the right food and suggest ways to be more active, as well as giving information on managing and living well with chronic conditions. Poor physical health can be a drain on our mental and emotional strength and poor mental health can lead to inactivity, poor diet and so the cycle continues.
One way to break cycles of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours is cognitive behavioural therapy and in the West London Clinical Commissioning Group area there is Time to Talk, a free psychological therapy service.
In order to help people decide whether this service is for them or for support while waiting for a referral, or during, or after therapy, the libraries’ Reading Well Books on Prescription collections are recommended by GPs and health promotion specialists. A new collection put together to support those living with chronic conditions will be launched in July this year.
The Reading Well Books on Prescription initiative is part of our Bibliotherapy offer. Our libraries host read aloud groups in partnership with The Reader Organisation. These facilitator led Book Break groups meet every week and give members the opportunity to join in reading aloud from good literature and discuss what has been read over a cup of tea or coffee or just sit back, listen and enjoy the company.
It is encouraging to look at how we in libraries contribute to what is called ‘the wider determinants of health’ All the things in our lives that support us, family, work, employment, housing, finances, education, lifelong learning, English classes, coffee mornings, knitting groups, activities for children and teenagers, employment advice, business information points for entrepreneurs old and young, all these available in libraries.
Libraries have always been inspirational and aspirational encouraging us to ask for more learning and knowledge and skills to create meaningful lives for ourselves and our families.
There are also some very good enjoyable fiction books available free to borrow hard copy or online! See our new book displays or see what eBooks and eMagazines we have. Did you know that reading for as little as six minutes can improve mental well-being?
See what you can do this Mental Health Awareness week to look after your own mental well-being, eat well, sleep well, go for a walk in one of our gorgeous parks and yes, visit your local library.
Health Information Co-ordinator
Go Golborne returned to Kensal Library on Tuesday 23 February for more fun, fruit, dancing and Handa. The children were treated to a retelling of Handa’s Surprise and learnt all about the benefits of healthy eating with some delicious fruit kebabs.
Beautiful colourful bracelets were created and as one parent said:
“The jewellery making brought everyone together”.
In the February half term we celebrated the day when Teddy bears first went on sale, 15 February 1903 by making our own felt bears. A lot of cutting, sticking and decorating later and there were some wonderful bears. I managed to grab a photo of some of the bears before they all left to go to a picnic apparently!
We have loads of books in our library on bracelet making, these are just a few examples:
Our Easter story & craft will be on Monday 4 April from 3pm to 4pm. We look forward to seeing you then.
Spring was definitely in the air at Kensal Library on Saturday 12 March at our Story & craft session.
We made beautiful pinwheel daffodils.
After much bending, stapling and sticking the children made some very pretty, colourful flowers.
It was a gorgeous sunny day and the daffodils really brightened up the library. Smaller versions will be made, to use on our spring display.
If you are free this Easter and want to do some paper crafts yourself or with children, we have loads of ideas in our libraries. Please see the search list for items and the examples below.
The next Story & craft session at Kensal Library, will be on Saturday 9 April.
On Monday 21 December Kensal Library hosted Go Golborne’s Fruity Jewellery making session. The children were delighted by the beautiful beads and some truly stunning creations were made.
Also a wonderful performance of Handa’s Surprise complete with animal masks was acted out the by the children and narrated by Kate Gielgud, Health Information Officer for Libraries who guided and encouraged the children during the play.
Go Golborne is a local campaign led by the council which is all about supporting children and families to eat well, keep active and feel good.
We made delicious colourful fruit kebabs which are always very popular at Go Golborne’s events!
If you missed this event don’t worry, come along to the next one on Monday 1 February at 4.15 to 5.30pm.
We had a fantastic year in 2015 and I have no doubt that 2016 will be just as great. We wish all our customers health, happiness and success in 2016.
We have blogged in the past about the ways that libraries are good for your health and wellbeing: increasing social and community cohesion with events and book groups, improving literacy and life skills, providing information about CV sessions, interview skills, job opportunities, housing issues and helping with digital inclusion with free online access through PCs and wifi, adult learning, children’s book sharing and of course a wide range of regular health sessions, talks and stalls for all ages – all these aspects of library life are good for our health.
Here are the answers to some questions you may have about one aspect of ‘Stay Well this Winter’ – the flu vaccine:
Stay Well This Winter – the Flu Vaccine
The NHS has been encouraging everyone to Stay Well This Winter by taking a number of steps to minimise the risk of falling unwell during the colder months – you might have seen posters and information displayed in libraries throughout Kensington and Chelsea. There are also videos to raise awareness:
Importantly, free flu vaccines are available to a number of groups of people including older people aged over 65, children aged 2-4 and in school years one and two, pregnant women, people with long-term health conditions and carers. Most GPs and pharmacies will be providing free flu vaccines until the end of January or February so it is still not too late if you, a friend or a family member has not yet had yours. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine your GP will be able to organise one for you, so it’s worth asking about.
To help understand why getting the flu vaccine is important we spoke to Dr Sarah Wallace, Public Health Registrar:
Why do we worry so much about preventing flu?
Flu is a strange illness. People so often confuse it with a cold, but in reality they are very different. Most of those who have had flu need no convincing to have the flu jab. You can be ill for up to a week, and it isn’t just the sniffles, shivering and sore throat that you have with your average cold. People will generally be in bed with high fevers, muscle aches, profound tiredness and other symptoms and will be completely unable to complete their normal daily activities. This means time off work or school – it may be up to seven days before you feel better.
We particularly worry about certain groups of people getting the flu, who for various reasons have an immune system which can’t fight the flu as well as others can. These people include those aged 65 and over, people with other long-term medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease and many others), pregnant women and young babies. Because these people may have a weaker immune system they are more likely to end up in hospital as a result of the flu, with complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis or rarely meningitis. Sometimes flu can have incredibly severe consequences and Public Health England estimates that around 8,000 people die of flu every year in England and Wales.
Will having the vaccine guarantee that you won’t get flu?
The flu is a virus which is constantly changing and there are many strains; however each year the most common flu strains are different, and so the vaccine changes yearly. Although the vaccination can’t stop all flu viruses, and it is not a 100% guarantee that you’ll be flu-free,if you do get flu after having the vaccination it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been. There is also evidence to suggest that the flu jab can reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Can you get flu by having the flu vaccine?
There are lots of myths about the flu vaccine. Contrary to many people’s belief the flu vaccination will not give you the flu. Some people feel a bit tired and achy, but this is simply your immune system working.
How can you get a free flu vaccine if you think we might be eligible?
Free flu vaccines are for these eligible groups are available until the end of January; not only from GPs but in London many pharmacies are also providing the flu vaccination for adults, which may be more convenient for some.
What if a child doesn’t like injections – can they still be protected against the flu?
The flu vaccine for children is particularly easy – it is just a simple and painless nasal spray. There have been many people asking why they should vaccinate their healthy child against the flu. It not only helps to reduce the likelihood of them getting sick, but also helps to stop them spreading the flu to others in the community particularly people who are vulnerable. Flu is generally spread in the community by children. They might be visiting elderly or sick relatives over the holidays, or those with young brothers or sisters. 2015 is the first year that children in school years one and two across the country are included in the programme.
Why is it important people in Kensington and Chelsea receive the flu vaccine?
Unfortunately we know that historically in Kensington and Chelsea flu vaccination uptake has been low, below the London average. I urge those who are eligible for a flu vaccination to make an appointment with your GP today, or if you are over 18 visit your local pharmacy. More information on how to Stay Well This Winter can be found at nhs.uk/staywell. The flu vaccination will be available at most GPs and pharmacies until the end of January or February, please don’t put it off.
Your local library and children’s libraries will have hard copy Stay Well this Winter and Flu Vaccination leaflets.
[Dr Sarah Wallace, Public Health Registrar;
Kate Gielgud, Health Information Coordinator]