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Living Healthy in Livingston

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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My mom is one tough cookie. She is a cancer survivor, widow, mother of three, grandmother of six, and friend of many. At the age of 85, she wakes up stiff and sore every day. Opening a jar of jelly is no longer a simple task. Bending over to pick up a piece of paper, sometimes impossible. Despite all this, she has maintained a healthy social life and has hugs for anyone that walks through the door. Mom is a great example of someone who has managed well despite living with arthritis, spinal stenosis, and hypertension. She has not let chronic disease define her life.  

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. Other chronic conditions include ADHD, anxiety, asthma, COPD, dementia, depression, and eating disorders. According to the CDC, chronic diseases are responsible for seven of ten 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. The good news is that anyone with or caring for someone with chronic diseases need not feel alone. 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 offer the best available research evidence and clinical expertise. In addition, they take into account patient and family preferences and values.  Designed to address real everyday life issues, the practical workshops offer self-management tools and techniques.

These self-management education programs significantly help people with chronic diseases and those that care for them. Living Healthy, a chronic disease self-management program, teaches participants skills needed to help deal with the symptoms of chronic conditions and the life role changes and emotions associated with them.

Topics covered in the workshops include: 1) maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and balance; 2) communicating effectively with family, friends, and doctors; 3) dealing with problems such as frustration, fatigue, isolation and pain; and 4) improved sleep and better nutrition. 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 lives that are more active. 

UR Medicine | Noyes Health will be offering several free Living Healthy workshops August through October. Trained, certified instructors teach the workshops and meet once a week, for six weeks. All participants receive a Living a Healthy Life book and relaxation CD. The workshops are free but class size is limited and pre-registration is required.

Fall Living Healthy Workshops:

Nunda: Living Healthy with a Chronic Disease starts August 23

Dansville: Living Healthy with Chronic Pain starts September 5

Geneseo: Living Healthy with Diabetes starts October 17

For more information or to register:

Phone: 585-335-4358


Register online at:

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

Media Contact

Mary Sue Dehn

(585) 335-4323

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