Workshops to address chronic disease self-management

Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop participants Lon Rubal, left, and Gloria Smith are shown intent on the lesson. Courtesy photo

A series of free workshops beginning in Winchester next month will address chronic disease self-management.

Following several successful other area workshops through Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, the six weekly 2 ½-hour sessions are taught from an evidence-based program through Stanford University. Workshop trainers are also trained through Stanford, said Cathie Galvin, a master trainer who has taught several SAAA programs around Harrisonburg.

“It is designed primarily to help adults better manage chronic conditions,” Galvin said.

The Winchester program will begin Aug. 18 and include discussions on heart disease, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure. Classes will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Winchester Active Living and Recreation Center in Jim Barnett Park.

Discussions will also focus on evidence-based techniques to help manage chronic diseases, such as nutrition, exercise, managing medication and working more easily with physicians.

The workshops are free and include a workbook, which Galvin said is simply a reference tool and not required reading.

“You don’t need any special tools or equipment to really benefit from the workshop,” she said.

Two workshops in Stephens City are full, but the Winchester workshop has not yet met its 14-person maximum, and any interested adult may sign up to attend.

So far, the programs have been successful, and Education Coordinator Charity Michael said she hopes to expand to other areas around the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

“The goal is actually to have a program in each county,” said Michael, who has taught all the local Chronic Disease Self-Management programs so far with a couple other trainers and started another in Stephens City on Tuesday.

Hoping to expand upon the program, Galvin said, “People really take a lot from the workshop and they really enjoy it.”

But to plan for more workshops, Michael the SAAA needs to hear from at least 10 people in any given area interested in attending.

“I find the programs very beneficial,” she said. “It’s definitely something that I believe in on a personal account.”

Those suffering from chronic disease can experience a lot of frustration because of pain, fatigue and stress that grows from the difficulty of communicating with family or health professionals. The workshops help by offering advice on managing symptoms and giving tips on how to relax and get a good night’s sleep.

“So far it’s been wonderful,” Michael said. “And today was another great experience.”

For more information, call Charity Michael at 540-551-5696 or the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging at 540-635-7141.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com