“Healthy Living” offers opportunities for community leaders, physicians, and those interested in leading healthier lives
- Written by Jessica Riel
- Published: 23 July 2015
What does “healthy living” mean?
For Marcus Chiaretto, the new Healthy Living Program Coordinator at LifePath, healthy living means having a plethora of options to self-manage your health concerns – even when these concerns may be chronic, multiple, or even worsening over time.
Healthy Living program, which offers community workshops led by local, trained, volunteer leaders. Workshops are open to anyone who wants to learn more about managing their own chronic health conditions or that of a loved one. Attendees include those with chronic conditions as well as caregivers, family members, and anyone who wants to learn more about how disease self-management, healthy eating, balance, and exercise can help them take charge of their own lives. Working alongside Lesley Kayan, Regional Healthy Living Program Coordinator, Marcus joined the program in June of 2015.“Healthy Living is a program that a lot of people can benefit from,” says Marcus, referring to LifePath’s
Originally from Pittsfield, Mass., Marcus is a graduate of UMass Amherst, where he majored in communications and minored in political science and philosophy. While at UMass, Marcus was involved in student community service organizations, including the UMass Alliance for Community Transformation (UACT) and Grassroots Community Organizing, which spurred his interest in working with underserved populations.
How does Healthy Living help participants?
In his role as the Healthy Living Program Coordinator at LifePath, Marcus has been looking at demographics of workshop participants and leaders as well as measuring outcomes that demonstrate the effectiveness of the Healthy Living program.
This work includes administering surveys and collecting data to improve the program, says Lesley, “to capture what we’re doing and how well we’re doing.” For example, in 2014, 73% of Healthy Living workshop participants reported a greater level of confidence in managing their condition.
Over the next year, says Marcus, “I hope to participate in as many workshop leader trainings as possible.” Once certified as a Healthy Living Leader in the various programs, Marcus will be able to lead workshops in the community and train new workshop leaders.
Healthy Living a resource for health professionals
Marcus has also been working on scheduling workshops and leader trainings, seeking venues, and, most importantly, making connections in the community to obtain referrals.
“We see that as a vital link to reaching more people,” says Lesley, as well as those who need the program the most.
Marcus’s position is supported by a Community Health Initiative Grant from Baystate Franklin Medical Center, which supports LifePath’s efforts to connect with medical providers in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region and share information about available services, such as the Healthy Living workshops, that could benefit their medical clients. The goal of the work supported by the grant is to reach a point at which the medical community sees the Healthy Living program as a very familiar and helpful resource for them and their patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pain.
Medical providers interested in making patient referrals to the Healthy Living program should contact Lesley at 413-773-5555 x2297 or 978-544-2259 x2297 or Marcus at 413-773-5555 x2304 or 978-544-2259 x2304.
Marcus enjoys working for LifePath, which “is a necessary organization for the community,” he says. “I can’t imagine what things would be like without LifePath offering these services,” noting the dedication and genuine passion of his coworkers.
Learn more about the Healthy Living program
Healthy Living workshops at LifePath are classes for people who want to enjoy healthier lives. Groups meet weekly for several weeks in different communities and are led by local volunteer leaders.
"No one suggested any program to learn how to live with [my chronic heart and lung conditions] until the morning I received a telephone call from Tracy," a Healthy Living Leader, says Claire. “It has been a great relief to let the fear and anger leave and allow the hope, peace, and love back into my life. It takes you to make it happen."
Choose from six, evidence-based workshops on falls prevention, managing chronic conditions and pain, diabetes, eating, and exercise.
“A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls”
Reduce your fear of falling while you increase your activity level. Learn strategies that improve balance and increase flexibility and strength. Set training goals and share practical solutions with each other while you learn to stay safe, active, and independent.
July Leader Training!
“My Life, My Health: Living Well with Chronic Conditions”
This workshop is for those with chronic physical and/or emotional challenges that impact quality of life. Learn how to manage pain and fatigue, understand nutrition and exercise options, improve communication with medical providers and family, use effective relaxation and breathing techniques, manage medications, and make sound treatment decisions.
“Chronic Pain Self-Management”
Gain the tools, skills, confidence, and motivation you need to manage the challenges of living well with chronic pain. Adults with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, back or neck pain, or migraines will experience an effective, supportive, learning environment.
Developed by Stanford University, this workshop is effective in helping people learn to better manage their diabetes and live healthier lives. You will learn to create weekly, personalized action plans that will lead to attaining goals through small, workable steps.
“Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults”
Learn more about nutrition and how lifestyle changes can promote better health. Focus on heart- and bone-healthy nutrition strategies, as well as support for physical activity in conjunction with sound nutrition practices, to help maintain or improve your wellness and independence and prevent chronic disease development or progression. Build a sense of empowerment as you accomplish incremental changes.
“Tai Chi for Healthy Aging”
Classes consist of simplified Tai Chi exercises adapted to the physical abilities of the group. You will learn to improve balance and general physical functioning, decrease the fear of falling, reduce pain, and achieve greater relaxation. This program has been researched and proven to reduce the risk of falls by 55%.
Take control! Improve your health and quality of life with help from Healthy Living today. Caregivers and loved ones of elders and persons with disabilities are also welcome to attend these workshops.
Become a volunteer Healthy Living Leader
You can also be trained to become a volunteer Healthy Living leader and co-lead workshops in your own community.