Living Well with Chronic Conditions focus of new workshop here

Published 8:34 am Friday, January 27, 2017

According to the National Institutes of Health, pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.

But there is help for those who suffer, in the six-week “Living Well with Chronic Conditions” program, set to begin with helping others to build skills and confidence in managing their conditions while maintaining their health, says Michael Maas, active aging program administrator, and Catholic Charities.

Workshop sessions will take place at the Mower County Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each Wednesday for six weeks beginning Feb. 1, 2017.

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The six-week program is offered free of charge by Catholic Charities-Diocese of Winona in partnership with the Mower County Senior Center and SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Partnership). The workshops are limited to 8-15 participants and space is granted on a first-come, first-served basis, Maas said, and is geared toward anyone age 18 or above. For more information, contact Maas at 507-450-1518.

While there are myriad conditions that can be chronic —conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease are among the most common — all can have impacts on daily life.

“If I don’t get enough sleep, it affects my arthritis; if I don’t eat right, it affects my arthritis,” said Maas. “Chronic conditions can affect your outlook on life … all parts of your life.”

And, chronic conditions affect many. The NIH estimates that three in four adults over the age of 65 suffer from two or more chronic conditions. As a result, they are more likely to use more health care services and “suffer negative outcomes such as unnecessary hospitalizations, adverse drug reactions, declining functional stays and mortality,” according to a NIH article from its website.

Participants in the local program will address specific concerns and goals for people with ongoing health problems. Participants will goals and make a personalized plan to improve and maintain their health. The workshop, Maas said, is interactive and focuses on peer support.

Mower County Senior Center Executive Director Sara Schafer said the center was interested in this type of session for some time.

“We brainstormed several options,” and finally found the right one in this program.

“In Mower County we have a lot of people suffering; if we can lessen the burden, that’s what we want to do,” said Schafer. She estimated that many seniors at the center, for instance, have arthritis.

“I think it’s the number one thing our seniors deal with. We want to do our part” in helping management chronic conditions, she said.