This evidence-based chronic disease self-management program (CDSMP) was developed by researchers at Stanford University.  The purpose of the First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging & Disability’s implementation of “Living Well with Chronic Conditions” is to reduce the risk and occurrence of disease and disability among adults 60 years of age and older.  This rapidly increasing population will be empowered through education and training to take more control of their health and well-being.  The goal of the program is to offer these workshops to older adults and their caregivers in our region, especially those who are difficult to reach such as low-income and minority groups.

Living Well with Chronic Conditions is a highly interactive workshop that takes place once a week for six consecutive weeks in a community setting such as senior centers, churches, libraries, clinics, and hospitals.  Each 2 hour session of the workshop is facilitated by 2 trained leaders who follow a detailed manual, so that each workshop is highly consistent.  The program was developed for people with chronic health problems, their significant other, or caregiver.  People with different chronic health problems attend the same workshop together.

It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective.  Participants are highly participative, where mutual support and success is build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.  Topics covered include: 1) techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation; 2) appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance; 3) appropriate use of medications; 4) communicating effectively with health care professionals; 5) nutrition; 6) how to evaluate treatments.  There is also great emphasis on three process skills: action planning, problem solving, and decision making.  Participants that complete the 6 week training will receive a copy of the companion book, “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions”, 3rd Edition, and an audio relaxation tape, “Time for Healing”.  There is no cost to attend the workshop.

Programs are being planned in various locations in Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties.  For additional information or to register for one of the workshops, please contact First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging & Disability, Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Regional Coordinator, Tracy Buckles Phone:  423-722-5109