New programs are empowering older adults to self-manage chronic conditions.
In the U.S., an increasing number of older adults are living with chronic disease. If you are in this group, you are likely looking for better ways to manage your disease and reduce its negative impact on your life. But it’s often hard to decide on the proper course of action, and you rely heavily on your medical professionals to direct you. What if there was a better way? With the right tools and information, you can take control of your own health. Programs are emerging to teach seniors how to be proactive in their healthcare and practice chronic disease management.
According to the National Academy on an Aging Society, the most common chronic conditions for older adults are heart disease, arthritis, hypertension, hearing impairments, and cataracts. While treatment protocols vary, researchers have demonstrated the efficacy of self management programs in terms of healthcare cost savings and effectiveness in managing symptoms of the related condition.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) and Stanford University partnered to create a state-of-the-art Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). This is a low-cost program that helps seniors with chronic conditions learn how to manage and improve their health. The program includes interactive workshop sessions where seniors learn techniques for managing pain and fatigue; exercises to improve strength and flexibility; nutrition’s effect on health; how to manage their medications; and most importantly, how to effectively communicate with family and healthcare professionals to evaluate, implement, and report results of treatments.
- Chronic conditions result in persistent health consequences that have ongoing and long-term negative impacts on people and their quality of life.
- The most common chronic conditions for older adults are heart disease, arthritis, hypertension, hearing impairments, and cataracts.
- The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) is a low-cost program that helps individuals with chronic conditions learn how to manage and improve their health.
To learn more about these programs and to find out if they are available in your communities through federally funded community partners, visit the Administration for Community Living’s website: www.aoa.acl.gov, and look for the Health, Prevention, and Wellness Programs section.
By Lydia K. Manning, Ph.D.
Dr. Manning is a gerontologist, educator, and entrepreneur with a wide range of experience in the field of aging. She is an Associate Professor of Gerontology at Concordia University Chicago in the College of Graduate and Innovative Programs. Dr. Manning received her Ph.D. in social gerontology from the Department of Sociology and Gerontology at Miami University. Her expertise lies in complex issues related to aging, health, and well-being. Her research focuses on resilience with related interests in religion and gender.