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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HEALTHY U offers three ways to live “Well Beyond 60!”

Program proven to improve health, foster better relationships between patients and care providers, and cut healthcare costs. 
Join a Healthy U workshop or receive free training to be a Healthy U facilitator

Healthy U OAM Logo

Nearly three out of four adults age 60 or older have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, or lung disease, according to the National Council on Aging. The likelihood of living with two or more of these conditions increases with age. Left unchecked, chronic conditions can limit independence and lower an individual’s quality of life. HEALTHY U Ohio, the state’s chronic disease self-management program, helps Ohioans stay active, make healthy choices and manage chronic conditions so that they can live “Well Beyond 60!”

“Well Beyond 60!” is Ohio’s theme for Older Americans Month, celebrated nationwide in May. Older Americans Month recognizes the achievements of our elders and acknowledges the many organizations that serve them, care for them, and provide them with opportunities to contribute. “Well Beyond 60!” emphasizes the role that each of us plays in determining our own health and wellness.

There are three ways to connect with HEALTHY U Ohio and live “Well Beyond 60!”

  1. Community-based workshops – Developed by researchers at Stanford University, HEALTHY U is a small group program that helps adults gain confidence in their ability to manage symptoms and understand how their health problems affect their lives. Individuals participate in interactive workshops facilitated by a pair of leaders, one or both of whom live with a chronic disease themselves. Workshops are available for chronic disease, diabetes and chronic pain.
  2. Online workshops – Better Choices, Better Health is the online version of HEALTHY U and is available to anyone with a computer and internet access. Participants log on at their convenience for about two hours per week and join other participants on a dedicated, secure website. Workshops are available for chronic disease and diabetes.
  3. HEALTHY U on Facebook – The new HEALTHY U Ohio Facebook page is your source for daily information, resources and tips to effectively manage chronic health conditions and take an active role in maintaining and improving their health. The page will feature updates and listings for HEALTHY U workshops and the online Better Choices, Better Health program throughout the state.

Training for Healthy U Facilitators

If you have an interest in helping others manage their chronic health conditions, you can receive free training to be a Healthy U facilitator.
Council on Aging will offer a free Healthy U facilitator training May 13, 14, 20, 21, and 28. Contact Elaine Hordes at (513) 226-1585 with questions or to register for the training. Space is limited!

Healthy-U facilitators come from a variety of backgrounds: some are adults who have personal experience managing a chronic condition, and others are professionals (nurses, care managers, health educators, etc.). Regardless of their background, Healthy-U leaders receive training and course materials at no cost.

Healthy U works

A report released in February by the National Council on Aging provides details of a study that found that the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (known as Healthy U in Ohio) impacts participants in three key areas: it improves health, fosters better relationships between patients and their care providers, and cuts healthcare costs for individuals and healthcare systems.  These findings match the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim goals of better health, better care, and lower costs. 

From 2010-2012, researches surveyed 1,170 participants enrolled in 145 workshops in 17 states to find out how Healthy U changed health outcomes, lifestyle behaviors, and health care service utilization over six and 12-months. Their findings included:

Better Health

  • Improvement in self-reported health, number of days per week being moderately active, depression, health-related quality of life, unhealthy physical days, and unhealthy mental days
  • Improved symptom management in fatigue, pain, shortness of breath, stress, and sleep problems

Better Care

  • Improvement in communication with doctors, medication compliance, and confidence filling out medical forms

Lower Health Costs

  • $713.80 per person savings in emergency room visits and hospital utilization
  • $363.80 per person net savings after considering program costs at $350 per participant. This would result in a national savings of $3.3 billion if 5% of adults with one or more chronic conditions were reached.

Click here to read more from the National Council on Aging report. 

Find a Healthy U Workshop

Click here to learn more about HEALTHY U Ohio and find a workshop in southwest Ohio. For workshops in other parts of the state, contact your area agency on aging (1-866-243-5378).

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