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Celebrating Alberta Rural Health Week: Honouring our healthcare heroes and taking charge of your health

Posted on May 31, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Nerissa McNaughton
For the News

Alberta Rural Health Week, celebrated from May 27 to May 31, 2024, is a significant event that honours the invaluable contributions of rural healthcare providers and community volunteers in improving the quality of life in rural Alberta. This week is an opportunity to recognize the dedication and hard work of those who ensure that healthcare is accessible and of high quality in our rural communities. It’s also a time for individuals to reflect on their own health practices and make positive changes.

There are many ways to show your appreciation for your local healthcare providers. In addition to saying thank you in person, participate in the Rural Health Week Giveaway by snapping a picture with a #RuralHealthMatters sign and sharing it on social media. Give a shout-out to the health professionals in your area and tag #RuralHealthMatters in your posts. This gives you a chance to win tickets to the upcoming Rural Community Conference in Wainwright, along with gift cards to give to your own hometown healthcare heroes.

One such local hero is Dr. William Leishman.

“I have been in medical practice in Picture Butte for over 40 years, but will be retiring at the end of June,” Dr. Leishman shares. “The clinic is continuing to explore options to ensure that it remains open after my retirement as it is a truly needed service in the community.”

He continues, “Over the years I’ve gotten to know and interact with so many local people. I consider them to be my friends. Helping them deal with their medical issues has been a challenging but gratifying experience.”

When asked to share a health tip for the readers, Dr. Leishman said, “Most people know the things they should and shouldn’t be doing to maintain their best possible health. With encouragement, everyone can make those decisions in order to have a healthy future.”

When we think of a healthy future, we envision mountains of kale and hard sessions at the gym. The truth is, however, taking charge of your health doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some simple yet effective ways to improve your daily well-being:

• Integrate non-typical exercises like gardening. This activity not only beautifies your surroundings but also provides a moderate level of physical exertion. Digging, planting, weeding, and watering can burn calories and strengthen muscles.

• Dancing! Whether you join a local dance class or just dance around your living room, dancing is a fun way to get your heart pumping, improve your balance, and lift your spirits.

• Don’t overlook the benefits of social connections. Engaging with friends and family can significantly impact mental health. Join local groups or clubs, participate in community events, or simply make time for regular meetups with loved ones. Social interactions can reduce stress, ward off depression, and even enhance physical health.

• Regular visits to your primary doctor are crucial. They can help detect potential health issues early and provide vaccinations, screenings, and personalized advice.

• Oral health is often overlooked but is essential for overall well-being. Regular dental checkups can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues.

Another often overlooked aspect of healthcare is the role a pharmacist can have. We know we can rely on pharmacists to provide prescription medication, but they are also an invaluable resource for managing prescriptions, understanding medication side effects, and ensuring that you are taking your medications correctly. Pharmacists also offer advice on minor health concerns, recommend over-the-counter medications, and provide immunizations.

Alberta Rural Health Week is more than just a celebration; it’s a call to action for all of us to recognize the vital role of healthcare providers and to take proactive steps in managing our health. By incorporating unique forms of exercise, maintaining social connections, and staying on top of medical and dental appointments, we can significantly improve our quality of life. Let’s take this week as an opportunity to honour our healthcare heroes and commit to healthier lifestyles.

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