You wake up abruptly in the night after a horrible dream. The dream scares you so much that you are not able to sleep again. You start your day with a headache and a cup of coffee in which you forget to add sugar. You are not able to get your work done due to constant headaches. You then call your best friend and tell them how crappy the day has been and ask them to meet. After an hour you are sitting in a cafe with your friend and laughing. LIFE IS GOOD!
You feel that you are gaining a bit too much weight these days and you are not flexible enough like before. So you start doing yoga everyday.
You might have imagined the above given scenario with an ease right? Now imagine yourself as a 70 yr old who is not able to walk and imagine the same turn of events. Would it have been the same for you even then? NO.
The whole point that I am trying to make here is that we often talk about how self care is important. And it really is! But have you ever thought that accessing self care is not the same for everyone? Self care is crucial for managing our social, emotional, physical and psychological well being. As rightly said by a renowned researcher Nakita Valeiro – Shouting “self-care” at people who actually need “community care” is how we fail people.
According to Nakita Valerio, community care means : “People committed to leveraging their privilege to be there for one another in various ways.’’ As simple as it sounds, even a small act of helping can be considered as community care in some or the other way. The community care can be provided on two levels, which are – Micro level and Macro level. We have all been indulging in the act of community care on micro levels, be it helping a senior citizen to lift their baggage, offering to babysit for a friend, or any act that includes helping other people. Community care is impossible to be defined in the form of one single act as it has various forms.
The group of people for whom community care is essential is huge.
Senior citizens, people suffering from physical or psychological conditions, handicapped people, etc. These people are not able to avail many facilities as their condition puts a lot of restrictions from going out, engaging in society, etc. Another drawback is that most of the advanced facilities are available in the urban areas and hence it becomes strenuous for the rural population. While we talk of society, aspects of unity, harmony, helpfulness, diversity come to our mind but such aspects must be transformed while we act as well. But the harsh reality of today is that a big chunk of people are living in isolation without the required essentialities.
Speaking of senior citizens, it is not physically possible for them to always visit hospitals when necessary. A lot of people are bedridden as well who live alone or with their partner(who also belong to the same age range). Half the people from this group cannot fetch medical facilities due to the inability to commute. If the needy one is not able to go to the resource then making the resource available for them would be a more convenient option. Hence, the solution to this problem would be providing all the medical facilities to the required ones while they are at home so that they do not have to get out of their house everyday. This is one example of community care on a macro level.
The major concern here is that even though we indulge in community care on a micro level multiple times it is not enough. There is a huge group of people from variant age ranges that need to be taken care of and are not physically or mentally able to look after their own self. Hence, community care done on a micro level does not provide adequacy.
Community care comes with a lot of advantages as well. People helping each other in various possible ways often promotes a healthy environment along with a sense of unity. The people who require support and a sense of belongingness are often deprived of the same due to their conditions. This loneliness often leads to deterioration of mental well being. But with sufficient care provided by the ones who are already willing to do the same gives reassurance and comfort.
Like the example mentioned above, if the medical facilities are made available to the people at their home itself it can be advantageous in multiple ways as follows-
- The patient would be getting treatment without exhausting her/himself from the commutation from home to hospital.
- It would lead to availability of more beds in the hospital.
- A lot of people dislike the boring hospital environment and are homesick but in this case they will be around their loved ones which can speed up the recovery.
- Reduces the risk of hospital acquired infections.
- Provides sustainable development in the home care setting.
Various facilities of wound care, home dialysis, ostomy care, incontinence care, e-health and telemonitoring can be made much more convenient when given directly at home. Along with medical facilities, other essential facilities also include education, basic groceries, psychological needs, etc. Psychological well being of the aged population is always ignored and them being slow in perceiving things is often reacted to with annoyance. There is insufficient awareness about geriatric psychiatry. Geriatric psychiatry is a branch of medicine and a subspecialty of psychiatry dealing with the study, prevention, and treatment of neurodegenerative, cognitive impairment, and mental disorders in humans with old age. Most of these disorders are not detected as the issues faced by senior citizens are often ignored due to their increasing age which can result in serious consequences.
In order to implement this in reality a collective effort is required. As the name suggests, “COMMUNITY CARE’’ is not just about the ones who are in need of the same but also about the other people who are capable enough to provide service in whichever way possible.
A lot of people might perceive this negatively as it very much sounds like a one sided help done but when you think intensely IT IS NOT! While you are doing your best to help the ones in need and creating the same environment in the society , you too will be getting help when in need. As I said before, help cannot be defined in a single act, it has a variety of forms. In a society where people from diverse ages, fields and cultures are staying together where community care is a general thing, development is going to take place. It is not like that one needs to be a social worker in order to help people. Any person of any age can do it ! and that is the best part about community care. You do not need to have any specific qualification for doing this noble cause. You just need to have determination and mindfulness and that’s all.
Some ways in which you can contribute in community care are as follows –
- Making essential facilities available for the ones who need support
- Donating to organisations in need
- Creating or joining a support group
- Addressing conflicts when it arises in any social setting
- Teaching students who cannot afford tuition fees , etc.
In order to bring in this positive change the government can implement various awareness schemes and provide financial support where required. There are multiple ways through which we can for our own self. In a similar way, there are multiple ways we can learn in order to help other people as well. Self care is the bridge to community care and community care is the bridge to community healing which is an essential aspect. I hope that we all will do our best to help other people and support them in their healing process as we create a safe space for everyone!
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