A new 'Chronic Disease Self-Management Program' is helping people in our area learn how to self-manage their everyday life, while living with many challenges.
You may not be able to tell behind their smiles, but this group of people in our area suffer from chronic illnesses.
Rosa Hardy struggles with diabetes and the stress of waiting for a new kidney, but the program is helping her feel like she's not defined by her disease.
"It has lifted my depression. It's helped coming out to a program like this and meeting people and listening to what they are saying," program participant, Rosa Hardy, says.
The 'Local Office' on Aging received a grant from the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and the Virginia Department of Health to apply the licensed program in our area. The program is licensed through Stanford University.
The program is designed for older adults who have chronic illness and adults with disabilities. The participate have to commit attending 6 weeks of workshops for free.
Alice Duehl is one of the program coordinators. She connects with the group because she also lives with a chronic health condition.
"It's not something that's going to go away, but it's something you can manage and something you can manage well, if you learn these techniques," Alice Duehl, program coordinator, says.
The group learns about having a self-management tool box with tools like, breathing techniques, understanding emotions, healthy eating, physical activity, and problem solving.
"Lots of laughter, you know, while we learning and it makes a big difference," Jean Mistele program participant says.
Working together to make a difference is what it's all about and now some people in our area have the tools they need to live a happier life.