Living Well: Go For It in 2014

January starts a new year and an opportunity to look at ways to take steps towards a healthier life. I have to admit, however, that committing to a health plan (for instance, making a New Year's resolution) this year is … a bit daunting.

I love hockey and found a quote from a hockey great, Wayne Gretzky (with whom I share a birth date, although not the same year): "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."

Isn't that true?  We can certainly miss out if we don't try, and even one small step towards a healthier life can reap benefits.

I looked into information about Living Well with Chronic Conditions and then I became a lay leader facilitator. In my experience, people really like the informational tools provided and appreciate the support they get by other workshop participants.

Living Well workshops are held for six weeks, two-and-a-half hours each week. The workshop provides helpful tools for living a healthy life for people with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, asthma, and heart disease.

Some of the areas include:

  • Making healthier food choices.
  • Managing stress.
  • Solving problems.
  • Identifying a personal health goal.
  • Communicating with your health care provider and family members.

Family members and caregivers have also attended workshops with people who have a chronic health condition. The information in the class can be quite helpful to them, as well.

The cost of the workshop and workbook is covered by some health plans that offer the classes free of charge.

This year, consider taking a step towards living a healthier life. This could mean participating in a Living Well with Chronic condition workshop. Who knows, you may decide to become a lay leader, too!

For information on Living Well workshops and other valuable trainings, visit Living Well with Chronic Conditions in Washington State.

Contributor Mary Pat O'Leary, RN, is a planner with Aging and Disability Services, the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County and a Living Well lay leader facilitator. Living Well is based on the evidence-based Chronic Disease Self-Management Program developed by the Stanford University School of Medicine.