According to health.gov, “Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Why is health literacy important? Studies estimate nearly 30 million people in this country have “below basic” health literacy. These people are more likely to report having poor health, limited access to appropriate health care, and have higher rates of hospitalization directly contributing to rising costs in health care.  Health literacy is directly related to improved treatment outcomes, healthier lifestyles, better preventative, self-care  and long-term management of chronic illness.

The Holistic Homestead seeks to proactively improve the health literacy of the Peak to Peak region along the Front Range in Colorado – and beyond – through regular publications on this website and in local news media; offering a “print” edition monthly newsletter; hosting educational events in the community and online; and maintenance of this website as a reference for information on issues related to holistic health.

What we’ve already accomplished: 

When my husband and I first moved to our beloved mountain community, I immediately noticed something was missing. In the coffee shops, gas stations, supermarkets, and even in the local papers, no one was seriously talking about preventative medicine. Fresh from my WALS certification from Wilderness Medicine Outfitters, I felt obligated to get the ball rolling on an informed and engaging conversation about health in the community. I started publishing more articles on this website and donating articles to the Mountain Ear about mold sickness, wilderness first aid, cold and flu season, and more. Now, the Mountain Ear gives weekly column space devoted to “Health Matters” with articles from the Holistic Homestead and a variety of other health professionals in the community.

My articles have also sparked a new interest in collaboration among the Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners in the community, one by one building a network of healers for referrals, inter-disciplinary education and support.

So much content and inspiration has come out of sparking a greater dialogue about health and health literacy that we’ve started self-publishing a monthly print edition of our newsletter. The newsletter has original content not found on this website or published elsewhere and reaches out to community members who are not online very often or who simply don’t have access to the internet. So far, distribution is free and reaches over twenty households and businesses in our community. (Only 20 because I can’t afford to print more than that!)

Our hopes and dreams for 2015: 

At the Holistic Homestead, we are ambitious to continue building on our success. The monthly print edition newsletter could have a much wider readership simply by having the ability to print more copies. Measurable health literacy improvement goals include offering seminars and after-school programs and donating books to the Gilpin County Library and Nederland Community Library. We also plan to continue and expand existing community events such as the Winter Retreat, Spring Cleanse, Summer Wildcrafting and Fall Clean-Up.

Help us improve health literacy for rural Colorado and beyond! Click the “follow” button in the bottom right corner of this page to receive an e-mail every time we publish an article; “Friend” the Holistic Homestead on Facebook and share posts on your wall; Subscribe to the monthly print edition by donating $1/issue or $12 per month. For one dollar a month, you will receive the print edition in your mailbox and sponsor one other family or business to also receive the print edition.

Spread the word, talk about health, get connected, get involved, everyone will benefit. cropped-arwen.jpg

 

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4 thoughts on “My #1 Priority: Health Literacy

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