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Friday, April 8, 2016

Healthy U classes lead to better lives for those with chronic disease; free leadership training offered in May

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If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis, you probably already know what you need to do for a healthy lifestyle.  But maybe, you don’t always do what you know you should.

Healthy-U is here to help.  Developed by researchers at Stanford University in California, the program has small-group workshops throughout Ohio and has been proven successful at helping adults gain confidence in their ability to manage their symptoms and understand how their health problems affect their lives.

Participants meet once a week over 6 weeks to work with each other and a pair of trained facilitators to find (non-medical) ways to overcome the daily challenges brought on by chronic health conditions - fatigue, pain, isolation, confusion about medications, and worries about out-of-pocket medical costs.  A key factor in Healthy U is peer support. Even the leaders live with chronic diseases themselves.

The program is for anyone with a chronic health condition.  Caregivers are also welcome.  There is a special Healthy U workshop for people with diabetes – although they can attend regular Healthy U workshops as well.

Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) coordinates the Healthy U classes.  COA also trains workshop facilitators to make the program more widely available in our region.  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. 

A five-day leadership training is scheduled for May.  The training is free, but space is limited.  Contact Elaine Hordes at (513) 226-1585 for more information.

A new round of spring/summer classes begins in April at various locations in Butler, Hamilton, and Warren counties. Workshops are also sponsored for veterans by the VA Medical Center.  Visit Council on Aging’s website for the most up to date schedule.

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