- Written by Janis Merrell
- Published: 31 January 2020
Learn strategies to help you take greater care of yourself in 2020.
Our winter Healthy Living Workshops begin in February! Join other people wanting to make a difference in their lives by attending one (or more) of these powerful, evidence-based self-management workshops.
This winter we are offering 5 workshops on 4 topics: Chronic Pain Self-Management, Diabetes Self-Management, A Matter Of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls, and My Life, My Health: Living Well with Long-Term Health Conditions. (LifePath also offers Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults which will take place in June and July!) Here are the times and locations for February/March:
WINTER 2020 WORKSHOPS
Chronic Pain Self-Management
Saturdays | Feb. 22–March 28 | 1:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Recovery Project, 68 Federal Street, Greenfield
Wednesdays | March 4–April 8 | 1:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Community Health Center of Franklin County, 450 W River Street, Orange
A Matter Of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls
Tuesdays | Feb. 11–April 7 (no class 3/3) | 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Gill Montague Senior Center, 62 5th Street, Turners Falls
A Matter Of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls
Thursdays | Feb. 13–April 2 | 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Erving Senior Center, 1 Care Drive, Erving
My Life, My Health: Living Well with Long-Term Health Conditions
Thursdays | Feb. 20–March 26 | 1:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
LifePath, 101 Munson Street, Greenfield
Workshops are free for participants and are open to a wide range of people with one or more long-term health conditions, as well as their caregivers and loved ones. Most adults have at least one, if not several long-term health conditions. Long-term health conditions may include being at risk for a fall, having diabetes, heart disease, depression, asthma, COPD, obesity, fibromyalgia, lupus, Crohn’s Disease, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, or any condition where we want to take a more active role in monitoring or managing the condition.
These workshops have been shown to increase someone’s “health confidence,” the feeling that we are able to manage our own conditions. Studies have shown that people who attend one of the workshops generally have fewer symptoms such as depression and shortness of breath, have a better quality of life, exercise more, and usually utilize health care less.
Workshops are free for participants and are open to a wide range of people with one or more long-term health conditions, as well as their caregivers and loved ones.
People with different mental and physical chronic conditions have similar concerns and problems. The developers realized that although chronic conditions are clinically very different and affect different body systems, their symptoms are remarkably similar: fatigue, pain, physical limitations, sleep problems, and emotional issues. These symptoms feed negatively on each other. If we can make an improvement in one of these symptoms, we can launch a positive turn for the better. Given the similarity in symptoms, the strategies taught in these workshops, including physical activity, breathing techniques, using your mind, healthier eating, dealing with emotions, etc., are helpful for people with any chronic condition. The developers realized that people with chronic conditions must deal not only with their conditions but also with the impact these have on their lives and emotions.
The Chronic Disease Self Management Program was first developed in 1991 at Stanford University as a collaborative research project between Stanford and Northern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program. LifePath has been providing these workshops to the Franklin County and North Quabbin communities since 2011.
Given how hard it is for us to change health behaviors, Stanford included behavior change strategies into their curriculum. One important motivator is that peers (non professionals who are living with various conditions) facilitate the workshops. Another major tool in the self-management workshop’s “toolbox” that helps to build self-efficacy is the tool of action planning. For about 25 to 35 percent of each weekly session, participants each take turns making a specific action plan, sharing it with the group, and brainstorming solutions to the barriers that keep them from accomplishing their plan. It is through action planning that people begin to feel in control of their fate, begin to grow their confidence in their ability to make changes, and see some hope that improvement is possible. The curriculum also teaches the important skills of problem solving and decision making, both of which contribute to people’s confidence in their ability to manage their condition.
According to Andi Waisman, LifePath’s Healthy Living Program Manager, “Given a non-judgmental opportunity and support, most of us want to make good decisions about our health and get motivated to make and complete goals we want to achieve. For this reason, the group leaders and peers never tell people what to do but rather support them in what they choose to do, even when the group or their doctor might have other goals for them. By asking people to make action plans and report on these plans, participants are gently persuaded and supported to try new activities they truly want for themselves.”