Senior workshop on chronic illness management begins

Published 8:12 pm Friday, February 15, 2013

A free workshop series designed to help adults deal with chronic illnesses started Friday at the Clanton Senior Center with the first of six weekly sessions.

The Living Well Alabama workshop series, held by the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A), meets each Friday from 9–11 a.m. and is open to anyone with chronic diseases and conditions seeking help in coping with symptoms and improving their overall quality of life.

Adults ranging from young to senior on the age spectrum who suffer from arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, pain, osteoporosis or respiratory problems are the primary beneficiaries of the workshop.

The first session Feb. 15 covered pain management through simple methods such as distraction.

“The one that we had today was very informative,” Clanton Senior Center manager Faye Price said. “We had a good reaction, and I would like to see more people get involved in it.”

The workshop series is funded by M4A through a grant from the Alabama Department of Senior Services.

It is designed to help attendees find better ways of dealing with pain and fatigue; discover exercises to help improve or maintain strength and energy; manage their medications; improve nutrition; talk effectively with family, friends and health professionals; understand new treatment choices; and feel better about life.

Living Well Alabama is taught by trained volunteer leaders, some who suffer from chronic conditions as well.

“People can still jump in,” Price said Friday. “It teaches us to change what we’re doing in order to change and help our own problems. Some things are not always dependent on a doctor’s care. Sometimes it’s self-help.”

According to an M4A press release, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, based on information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).