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Living Healthy Workshops

Friday, February 26, 2016

One out of every two adults in the U.S. has at least one chronic disease. A chronic disease, as defined by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, is one lasting 3 months or more.  Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear. Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common and costly of all health problems. According to the CDC, chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year, and treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of our nation’s health care costs. There are, however, other costs to consider besides dollars and cents.  Chronic diseases can take a toll on people’s lives – the pain, the limitation, and the poor emotional health all compromise the quality of daily life.  In addition, caregivers of those with chronic disease struggle with burnout and poor health.  Over the last 20 years, several programs have been developed to meet the needs of both populations, the patients and those who care for them.  These educational workshops are evidence-based meaning they incorporate: (1) the best available research evidence (2) clinical expertise, and (3) client preferences and values.   Furthermore, they are designed to address the everyday issues of those dealing with chronic disease and offer tools and techniques for self-management.

These self-management education programs have been proven to significantly help people with chronic diseases. For example, the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (Living Healthy program) helps participants learn self-management skills needed to help deal with the symptoms of their chronic condition and the life role changes and emotions experienced when living with a chronic condition. The emphasis of the workshop’s curriculum is to help people: manage common problems such as fatigue; communicate with friends, family, and providers; deal with anger and depression; and design and maintain a healthy eating and exercise plan. In addition, participants learn disease related decision-making and problem solving skills.  As a result, these tools help participants reduce pain, depression, fear, and frustration; improve mobility and exercise; increase energy; and boost confidence in their ability to manage their condition. The most important outcome is that people become more confident and are able to maintain more active lives.  

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is another evidence based six-week program which focuses on the needs of caregivers. It is for family and friends who are caring for older adults suffering with long-term conditions.  The class provides caregivers the skills and confidence needed to take better care of themselves, while caring for others.  Caregivers develop a wealth of self-care tools to: reduce personal stress, change negative self-talk, communicate their needs to family members and healthcare providers, communicate more effectively in challenging situations, deal with difficult emotions, and make tough caregiving decisions.

UR Noyes Health will be offering both of these workshops free of charge to the public.   Workshops are taught by trained, certified instructors.  Classes are 2 ½ hours long, once a week, for six weeks.  Class size is limited.  Spring workshops will be held at the York Town Hall, Wayland Library, and Geneseo Goodwill starting in April.  If you would like more information or want to register: call 585-335-4358 or email  To learn more about Living Healthy programs, go to:

This article was a collaborative effort of Christa Barrows, Caregiver Resources Coordinator, and Lorraine Wichtowski, Community Health Educator at Noyes Health.  If you have questions or suggestions for future articles Lorraine can be reached at or 585-335-4327.  

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