Owning a dog ‘may increase length of life’

*article taken from NHS Behind the Headlines

“Dogs could be a heart’s best friend,” reports The Times, after two studies showed people who own a dog seem to live longer than those who do not own one.

The possible beneficial effect – thought to be from a combination of increased physical activity and social support – seemed stronger in people who lived alone with their pet.

One study looked at length of life overall, while the other looked at length of life after a heart attack or stroke.

The article says: We know that physical activity, such as walking, can help people recover from a heart attack or stroke. Owning a dog may encourage people to be more active by taking their dog for a walk.

Social support is also important for health, especially when recovering from an illness. A dog provides companionship and may be a way of getting to know other dog owners in the neighbourhood.

However, the studies do not prove that dog ownership has a direct effect on health, only that it seems to be linked to longer life. While people who enjoy the company of dogs may benefit from exercise and companionship, the study does not show that people who are happily social and active without dogs should get one.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please click here.

Slow walking at 45 ‘a sign of faster ageing’

How fast people walk in their 40s is a sign of how much their brains, as well as their bodies, are ageing, scientists have suggested.

Using a simple test of gait speed, researchers were able to measure the ageing process.

Not only were slower walkers’ bodies ageing more quickly – their faces looked older and they had smaller brains.

The international team said the findings were an “amazing surprise”.

Doctors often measure gait speed to gauge overall health, particularly in the over-65s, because it is a good indicator of muscle strength, lung function, balance, spine strength and eyesight.

Slower walking speeds in old age have also been linked to a higher risk of dementia and decline.

In this study, of 1,000 people in New Zealand – born in the 1970s and followed to the age of 45 – the walking speed test was used much earlier, on adults in mid-life.

The study participants also had physical tests, brain function tests and brain scans, and during their childhood they had had cognitive tests every couple of years.

“This study found that a slow walk is a problem sign decades before old age,” said Prof Terrie E Moffitt, lead author from King’s College London and Duke University in the US.

To continue reading the BBC News article click here.

However, to balance this the government has released guidelines saying that even a small amount of exercise is beneficial. Read more about this here.

And plenty of our partners offer walking groups as well as general exercise classes and other activities. Why not ring the Living Well Sefton team on 0300 323 0181 to find what’s happening near you?

Community Café kicks off in Crosby

Marine in the Community has opened a new Community Café based at Marine FC’s small function room on College Road.

The café takes place every Wednesday from 12pm to 2.30pm and all are welcome.

In addition to the usual café delights, the Community Café will also play host to musical performances, dancing, karaoke, card games, dominoes, board games, quizzes, bingo and more.

Guests are also encouraged to bring along their own hobbies to enjoy or share with others such as knitting, sewing, jigsaws or reading.

There will also be the opportunity to meet with other agencies to find out more information on things like home security, fire/smoke alarms, welfare and benefits, scam letters and phone calls, wellbeing, healthy eating, mindfulness and even local history.

During Sefton’s Year of Friendship, events like this are a great way to get out and about to meet new people. There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day and enjoy.

Speak up this World Mental Health Day

To highlight World Mental Health Day on 10 October, health experts in Sefton are encouraging people to look after themselves and open up about any issues they may be dealing with.

Most people will confront some sort of mental health difficulty in their lifetime. The state of your mental health can be affected by factors such as drugs and alcohol, work-related stress and grief – among other things.

Dr Craig Gillespie, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “We need to look after our mental health just like our physical health. It’s really important that you speak to someone if you notice a change in your mental health or a change in someone else such as feeling or acting more stressed, being unhappy or disengaged. “

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG chair, said: “Sharing how you are feeling by speaking to a friend or family member can help you to feel better. Activities such as meditation, exercise and breathing techniques have also been shown to enhance your mental health. There are also local services that can help you should you feel you need more support.”

People in Sefton have access to a number of resources including Access Sefton, a service that provides guided self-help, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling for anyone aged 16 and over.

Ryan Forrest at Access Sefton added: “World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to have a chat with a friend, family member or colleague to ask them how they’re feeling. Opening up the conversation around mental health will encourage those around you to be more aware of how they’re feeling and reach out for support.”

Patients looking for support can refer themselves to Access Sefton. You can contact them directly by telephoning 0300 303 2708 or visiting www.insighthealthcare.org/accesssefton. You can also ask your GP practice for information.

For young people aged 11 to 18 years old there is a free online service called Kooth which offers self help materials and a safe online community 365 days a year. This can be accessed at www.kooth.com

In extreme circumstances, people will experience a mental health crisis. This often means that you no longer feel able to cope or feel in control of your situation. You may feel great emotional distress or anxiety, can’t cope with day-to-day life or work, think about suicide or self-harm, or experience hallucinations and hear voices.

In these cases, you should contact NHS 111 for help.

To find out more about the help available for anyone struggling with their mental health, visit the NHS website.

*Tomorrow (Thursday) Sefton in Mind will be holding a Mental Health and Wellbeing Market in Bootle’s Strand Shopping Centre to celebrate World Mental Health Day.

Based on the lower floor mall (in front of the Strand By Me Shop) more than a dozen organisations will be offering support, advice and practical help for people with poor mental health.

Living Well Sefton will be there so drop by between 11am and 3pm for a chance to talk with the likes of: Access Sefton, Imagine Independence, Space, and Rethink.

Christmas switch on guestlist is no longer mysterious, girl!

Peter Andre will be coming to Southport to headline this year’s Christmas lights switch on!

The reality and TV star will be coming to town on November 17 to head up a huge line up of entertainment and formally switch on this year’s brand new lighting scheme.

The BID will also be putting on an exciting day of entertainment, fairground rides and street performance to ensure families can stay and enjoy the festivities all day.

Starkidz will open the show, with your favourite Ice Queen followed by well-known CBeebies presenter, Sid who is bringing his brilliant one man show to Southport.

Sefton celebrates dementia friendly status

Sefton Council joined over 50 other organisations and businesses from across the borough this week to celebrate its new dementia friendly status.

Thanks to the work of Sefton’s Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), the borough has been officially recognised by Alzheimer’s Society as ‘working towards becoming dementia friendly’. This status means that Sefton is a place where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported.

The event, held on Tuesday at The Atkinson in Southport, was a chance for all of the organisations involved in the Dementia Action Alliance to celebrate the result of their work and start a new era of the partnership which will now be known as Dementia Friendly Sefton.Dementia-Friendly-Sefton-300x225

This news comes as Sefton continues to celebrate its Year of Friendship, a year-long campaign that aims to tackle loneliness and social isolation across the borough. The ongoing work of Dementia Friendly Sefton will be an extension of this campaign in years to come as it works to create a better community for our more vulnerable residents.

Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “I am so proud to be able to celebrate Dementia Friendly Sefton this week. This event is the culmination of years of hard work by a huge number of organisations from across Sefton to create a place where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported.

“The world can be a confusing and sometimes frightening place for people with dementia, but by making small changes to the way we usually do things, we can make that world much brighter. Dementia Friendly Sefton will continue to work towards making our community a better place for people living with dementia and, in doing so, enable them to live the lives they choose to live.”

Sefton@Work puts Netherton charity in Employability Awards spotlight

A Netherton charity has secured a prestigious national award.

Fun4Kidz was named SME of the Year at the 2019 ERSA Employability Awards for their commitment to providing employment opportunities in Sefton.

Sefton@Work, which supports residents into employment, education and training in the borough, nominated the charity for their work in reducing unemployment within the borough.Fun4Kidz-ERSA-award-300x169

Fun4Kidz was established in 1998 to provide out of school clubs in Netherton and have since expanded to meet the needs of families across the borough. It has its base within the L30 Community Centre in Stonyfield, Netherton.

The charity provide activities for over 850 children per week and have been recognised for offering employment opportunities to people who may have faced barriers to work.

The work of Fun4Kidz was singled out by a panel of expert judges who recognised the charity’s “exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long-term unemployed jobseekers”.

Fun4Kidz Chief Executive Debbie Stephens said she “couldn’t believe it” after collecting the award and thanked Sefton@Work for their nomination.

For more information about Sefton@Work visit http://www.seftonatwork.net/

And visit the Fun4Kidz website for details on what they and the L30 Community Centre can offer.

Green Sefton wants your ideas!

Green Sefton, Sefton Council’s service that looks after parks, green spaces, coast and countryside, is looking for ideas on how it can breathe new life into Sefton’s landscape whilst also helping local community groups and businesses.

The council is inviting people to offer expressions of interest on how they think Sefton’s green spaces can be put to use in ways that will benefit the community and visitors.

A number of parks, coastal and green spaces have been put forward as potential sites for new and additional ideas to complement the fantastic facilities we already enjoy, but also to help encourage new investment and opportunities to sites across Sefton, working in partnership with our amazing ‘Friends of’ and community groups.South Park 2

These sites include the Botanic Gardens, Crosby Coastal Park, North Park, South Park (pictured right) and a number of other special places across the borough.

The council is keen to hear from community groups – existing or new – that may want to set up a new venture, and from businesses who want to promote what they do or even that may be looking for a new home. Some suggested ideas include a coffee shop or ice cream parlour in parks or dog grooming business on the beach, as well as ideas for new activities like a kite surfing school or developing children’s soft play areas.

However, expressions of interest are not limited to these suggestions and Green Sefton is keen to hear about any creative ideas people may have to bring people to the amazing parks and green spaces in Sefton. These can be one off events or year around offerings.

Ideas can be submitted online by visiting www.the-chest.org.uk until 25 October 2019.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity to raise the profile of our wonderful parks and coastline and to get more people to visit them and create new and exciting opportunities for both residents and visitors.

“This is also an opportunity for the council to work more closely with the community groups who already dedicate a lot of time to our green spaces and allow them to share their ideas for new investment opportunities.

“I am excited to see what ideas are put forward and hope that this gives budding community groups, business owners, and other organisations across Sefton the chance to put their plans into action.”

Help shape your health and care future

People across Sefton have been given the opportunity to help shape the future of health, care and wellbeing across the borough.

Anyone with an interest in health and care is being encouraged to take part in a survey which will help develop the borough wide Sefton NHS Five Year Plan, Shaping Sefton II.

When finalised, the plan will be the borough’s response to the NHS Long Term Plan, published at the start of this year. Currently in draft form, Shaping Sefton II builds on the vision for transforming health and care set out in the original Shaping Sefton plan, developed in 2014.

Already the subject of engagement with health, care and wellbeing professionals and volunteers across Sefton through a range of events; there is now a chance for everyone in the borough to help shape the final document via the online survey.

The new five year plan will aid the delivery of Sefton’s local health and wellbeing strategy, currently being refreshed by Sefton Council, and will also support the work of the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership in developing its response to the national NHS Long Term Plan.shaping_sefton

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG and the senior responsible officer for the Sefton Health and Care Partnership, said: “This is a great opportunity for everyone in Sefton to have a look at our draft plan and let us know if we are heading in the right direction for the next five years.

“Shaping Sefton II is a very important plan as it looks to build on the successes of the original document while looking at some of the biggest health and care challenges we are facing together between now and 2024.

“We have based our thinking on your health and care priorities including the findings of the Sefton Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) which outlines the health and care needs of everyone in the borough.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to have a look at our new draft plan, tell us what they think and, more importantly, let us if we have got our priorities and ambitions right – or indeed if we have missed anything?”

To see a copy of the draft Shaping Sefton II plan and take part in the online survey go to: www.seftonfiveyearplan.co.uk

People are asked to give their views about the plan before 21 October when the survey closes. All the feedback received will be used to finalise Shaping Sefton II.

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