I Have a Chronic Condition, Now What?
When you get the news that you have a chronic condition it may seem like a foreign language to you. Everything in your life has to change in order to cope with this new disease. You will have to follow a specific diet and exercise plan, develop new ways to perform your everyday tasks, and find new lines of communication with your physicians and family members. The good news is that Stanford University has developed a program to help those who find themselves with all of these “new” things occurring later in their lives.
The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is offered in communities around the United States, including those in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, and Tazewell counties. The program’s goal is provide older adults with education and tools they need to help them cope with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or arthritis. The programs help participants manage stress, discuss the benefits of physical activity and good nutrition, and help participants communicate more effectively with health care providers. Participants develop action plans related to these topics through structured planning and feedback exercises.
Mary Banks of Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens has been doing the CDSM workshops since May of 2011 and states, “The differences you seen in the participants has been amazing. It is like a light bulb goes off in their head and they just get it. They realize that the diseases are not isolation tools or things that make them different, these diseases are just something that binds them together with a whole new support system.”
The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is a free workshop and meets for 2.5 hours once per week for six consecutive weeks. The program can be conducted with church groups, community organizations or with a group of friends. If you are interested in participating in a workshop or would like to be a host site please contact Chase Meade-Patton at Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens at 276.964.4915.