Mary Weston (left) recognizes participants of the Healthy Living with Chronic Conditions training after they recieved their certificates of completion for the class.

Healthy Living with Chronic Conditions

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

Salt River Senior Services, Health and Human Services and the Human Resources WellPath Program recently joined forces to provide training classes on healthy living with chronic conditions, an issue that affects many people on a daily basis.

The Senior Center first offered the training to seniors who are disabled, and Human Services Wellness Program Supervisor Andy Weiler and Employee Services Manager Patty Powers both thought it would be a great idea to offer the training to employees of the SRPMIC government as well as the Enterprises.

The classes started in the beginning of July and concluded on July 17. Several participants attended the entire program and received certificates of completion.
The Program is a workshop given 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 together and workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic diseases themselves.

Subjects covered include: Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation, appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, weight management, flexibility, endurance, appropriate use of medications, communicating skills with family, friends, and health professionals, nutrition, positive decision making, and how to evaluate new treatments.

Each participant in the workshop receives a copy of the companion book, Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Conditions, 4th Edition, and an audio relaxation CD,Relaxation for Mind and Body.

It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.

Some participants shared why they chose to take the training.
“I work with the seniors at the Senior Center, and I wanted to use this as a tool to understand their conditions from a better view, as well as [with] my own family and friends,” said Delores Scott.

“I have elderly parents and a future elderly mother-in-law, and I wanted to learn how to deal with them and all the things that come with old age,” said Jeanette Harrell, Community Development Department.

“I wanted to learn how to deal with [chronic conditions], and how to deal with medications and emergencies, because a lot of my family has medical issues and I want to learn how to manage and cope with all of that when the time comes,” said Theron Olivar, who works at Casino Arizona.

“After I heard about the program for the first time I joined, and since then it is helping me deal with my rheumatoid arthritis, which I’ve had since 2006,” said Debbie Chino. “It helps just to talk to others and get their thoughts on subjects related to dealing with chronic conditions. I enjoyed every class and I plan on taking more like it.”

“This class gives me a better understanding of living with certain conditions,” said Sharon Carl of the Finance Department. “My family members have diabetes and that leaves me at a high risk, so it’s really helping me manage my life skills. Down the road if I was ever to get [diabetes], I would learn how to cope with it.”

The program is looking to start back up in late August and classes will be offerd at the Tribal administrative complex, Education and at the Casino Arizona sites. For more information regarding the classes contact Andy Weiler at (480) 362-2673 or Mary Weston at (480) 362-7983.

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