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Chronic Disease Self-Management

What are Chronic Diseases?

Chronic Diseases are ongoing health conditions. Examples are diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, depression or asthma. More than 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition; 60 percent have two or more.

How we care for ourselves and live our lives can make a real difference in our health. We can learn proven ways to manage chronic conditions.

These programs can:

  • Help us reduce pain and stress
  • Be more physically active
  • Eat healthier
  • Use medications wisely
  • Work with a health care team
  • Make decisions about health care

Everyone can improve their health regardless of age.

What should I look for in a self-management program?

You should ask if the program is based on sound research that proves it is effective. Here are a few examples of effective programs:

Living Well with Chronic Conditions

Living Well with Chronic Conditions is also known as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. Stanford University, developed it. This six-week workshop teaches skills to live a full, healthy life with a chronic condition. Classes are fun and interactive. Participants share their successes and enjoy each other’s support. The workshop builds confidence to manage health, stay active and enjoy life. A Spanish-language version of the program, Tomando Control de Su Salud, is also available.

Topics covered:

  • Managing symptoms
  • Medication how-to
  • Working with your health care team
  • Setting weekly goals
  • Effective problem solving
  • Better communication
  • How to relax
  • Handling difficult emotions
  • Tips for eating well
  • Safe, easy exercise

Program length:This six-week program meets 2-1/2 hours each week.

Who attends:People with various chronic conditions and their family or friends.

What you will learn: Resources, skills and planning for actions to give you greater control over your chronic condition.

Leaders: Two trained leaders are at each location. At least one of them has a chronic condition.

Interested? Find a workshop near you.

How do I pay for a Living Well program?

Some sites may charge a small fee to cover the cost of the course materials.

Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese practice to exercise the mind and body. It uses a series of slow, gentle, flowing movements. The program helps prevent falls. Participants who did tai chi at least three times per week for at least three months greatly reduced their falls. The program uses a simple version of tai chi that can be done standing or sitting.

Program length: Most tai chi classes are ongoing. You should attend regularly for at least three months to reduce your fall risk.

Who attends: People of all ages and fitness levels.

How do I pay for a tai chi class? Many community and senior centers offer tai chi classes for a low fee, or sometimes at no cost.

Other self-management programs

Check with your local ADRC of Oregon for other local classes to increase your physical activity, prevent falls or quit smoking. These programs help you manage ongoing health conditions and take more control of your life.

Find chronic disease management resources in your local area.

ADRC of Oregon staff are available to help you explore your options to meet your current needs or create a plan for the future.

Oregon Department of Human Services, State of Oregon, ODVA Veterans
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