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Focussing on what I CAN do

ElaineCrElaineCr Member Posts: 1 Listener
edited October 2019 in Guest blogs

Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs and nurses to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health. Something so simple that changed my life. This simple act? A referral to an exercise session at my local GP’s surgery.

The life of an older woman on medication for diabetes, high blood pressure and depression with osteoarthritis in my hip thrown in for good measure. It also took the skills and understanding of the health professionals carrying out my medical reviews to have patience when I was not mentally ready for change but to collaborate with me when I was. 

group of people doing an exercise class outdoors

What I can do

This was about gentle encouragement focusing on what I could do. Another patient took me under their wing and I had a laugh. This positive experience including good company, led to another session the following week and on to regular attendance. Then we graduated to an hour’s afternoon circuit session once a week at Heeley Gym in Sheffield facilitated by our very able Health Referral Specialist. Again it’s about what you can do and good company. 

When I felt ready, the Health Referral Specialist arranged a further one to one session for me in the week. This was specially designed for my physical needs but also helped me overcome low motivation by having an appointment to go to. This support also saw me through my hip replacement surgery and recovery.

I have made friends at the gym and especially with another lady in the weekly class who has become a close friend. I do admit we go for tea and cake afterwards but don’t tell my GP!  It’s great for us to share the good times and the bad, and on occasion put the world to rights.

 two women riding bikes outdoors

How has it helped?

Life is not always a bed of roses but my sugar levels have come down, my high blood pressure is controlled and my mood is much better. My mobility has come on by ‘leaps and bounds’ too. 

Yes, social prescribing has certainly improved my quality of life and ability to cope. It just shows how well my local community can help us build a caring, resilient and healthy place to live.

Have you ever used social prescribing? Or is there something in your community that helps you feel better about yourself? A club, an exercise class or a group that brings people together? Tell us about your experiences, we'd love to hear them and it could help someone else to have the confidence to look into their own community.


  • paffuto10paffuto10 Member Posts: 388 Pioneering
    Hi @ElaineCr :)

    Thankyou for this very inspiring post. 
    I am at the GP's next week so will definitely look into this. 

    It would certainly be a refreshing change to look at what I can do instead of trying to prove what I can't do in order to receive benefits. 

    Thanks again x
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks so much for sharing this @ElaineCr :)
    Senior online community officer
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    I agree @ElaineCr

    It is important to think of the positives. Yes I have. My local leisure center runs exercise classes for disabled people. I am also trying to find stuff for my son to do as well. Getting out of the house is always crucial. There are lots of options out there. Care companies all over the UK plus care homes offer a number of well being and social activities in addition. Caring can be quite demanding and isolating, so me time is essential. 
    It helps me remember I am a mom not just a carer. I work outside the home full time. I think this is a nice initiative to support. Yesterday I was reading a article on the benefits of social prescribing online too. I even referred myself to a local carer support network that helps carers of all ages recently. Everyone needs friends. I came across this blog post on why loneliness is not a good thing anymore-

    Good luck @paffuto10! Keep us updated. 
  • AilsAils Member Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    This is a really inspiring post @ElaineCr and a great read!  Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and it sounds as though you are enjoying being out and about and making friends and so glad to hear that it is helping your health too.  I always feel better for getting out and find that just going to my knitting group or Tai Chi and being amongst others for a cuppa and chat can work wonders in helping me feel better both physically and mentally.  When I am out I'm not as focused on my pain and worrying about things.  I hope you continue to reap the benefits of being out in your local community, @ElaineCr!  All the best.  :smiley:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
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