Positive self-management is not a groundbreaking new age idea. It is a lifestyle that could change your life forever! People living with chronic health conditions have no choice but to self-manage their lives, whether it is to be active and live a full life, or to do nothing and suffer in silence. Living with a chronic condition does not have to become the center of your existence. You can learn to live better and take charge of your life! Next year, the first baby boomers will turn 65 years old. By 2030, more than 37 million, or six out of ten, will manage more than one chronic health condition. Older adults have an opportunity to practice prevention by participating in a self-management program.
The Centralina Area Agency on Aging is partnering with local organizations to offer Living Healthy in North Carolina, also known as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). The workshop, developed at Stanford University, is designed to empower the patient to take control of their chronic condition rather than allowing the condition to control them.
What is the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program?
The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) is a workshop given for two and a half hours, once a week, for six weeks, in community settings such as senior centers, churches, libraries and hospitals. People with different chronic health problems attend the program together. Workshops are facilitated from a highly-detailed manual by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are peers with a chronic health conditions themselves.
While no one wants to have a chronic health problem, most of us will experience two or more of these conditions during our lives. They can include but aren’t limited to such things as: arthritis, lung disease, chronic heartburn, fibromyalgia, heart failure, heart disease, diabetes, renal failure, stroke, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, obesity and cancer. If you have any ongoing health problems, this workshop will change your life! Over the course of six weeks, you will learn how to deal with difficult emotions, use your mind to manage symptoms, appropriate exercise for optimal health, manage medications, nutrition, set goals, problem solve and best of all, you will meet new friends.
The Living Healthy workshop works! Over a thousand people with a chronic condition participated in a randomized, controlled study of CDSMP over the course of three years. Compared with those who did not attend the workshop, CDSMP participants showed a significant improvement in exercise, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, self-reported general health, health distress, fatigue, social roles, and reduced days in the hospital and fewer outpatient visits. In fact, it is estimated that for every dollar spent on the program, ten dollars are saved in healthcare.