Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

November 11, 2013

Helping seniors with their illnesses

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Niagara County Health Department and the Office for the Aging have partnered on a program to help senior citizens with chronic diseases. 

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program has been conducted at the Dale Association in Lockport and the John Duke Senior Center in Niagara Falls earlier this year. Workshops are ongoing in the Somerset Town Hall and North Tonawanda Senior Center this fall.

The Office for the Aging is preparing its 2014 program, according to Director Kenneth Genewick. “It’s going very well,” Genewick said. “We’ve had strong turnouts at all four workshops.”

The self-management course helps those with heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, depression, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other health conditions. There’s six workshops of three hours each.

”The goal is to give people with chronic health disease tools to use to self-manage and deal with stresses of day-to-day living,” said Jean Roemer, who is working with clients at the Somerset Town Hall with Deb Ryan. Roemer and Ryan are registered nurses working with the health department.

The program was developed by Stanford University in a chronic disease self-management study and there have been workshops in 25 countries. As of Dec. 31, the health department stopped doing home care in the county and decided to help community by doing more public health nursing.

That led to the partnership with the Office for the Aging as part of a P-2 Collaborative.

“We’re hoping, by word of mouth, more people will come,” Roemer said. “They can manage their disease better and reduce number of times they go to doctor or hospital... There are techniques anyone can use.”

According to the textbook “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions,” it is impossible to have a chronic condition without being a self-manager. Chronic diseases begin slowly and act slowly. The illness leads to more symptoms.

The program is for men and women 60 and older. Call the Office for the Aging at 438-4020 for information on upcoming programs.

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