Classes Focus on Managing Diabetes In Prowers and Surrounding Counties

From left to right: Kaz Ashida, Leslie Hall-Huz, Felix Romero, Rose Romero, Carol Mumm

From left to right: Kaz Ashida, Leslie Hall-Huz, Felix Romero, Rose Romero, Carol Mumm

Living with diabetes is not a picnic, but is possible, though, and learning how is the focus of a six-class series beginning March 22, 2017.

Southeastern Colorado Area Health Education Center based in Pueblo will host its second free weekly class at the Lamar Community Center from 12:30 pm – 2 pm  on Wednesday’s through April 26, 2017.  They are open to anyone, who is living with diabetes or prediabetes, and to caregivers.  All are welcome to attend classes.

Managing one’s own health will be emphasized during this six-week series. This includes how to communicate better with doctors and family members, how to eat more healthfully and get beneficial exercise, and how to meet emotional as well as physical needs.

Carol Mumm, a resident of Crowley County, participated in a recent session.  She indicates, “This class has given us tools to become self-managers of our chronic condition – diabetes. Our discussions have helped each and every one of us to set weekly action plans that we can achieve with confidence.  The resources and instructors are excellent.  I highly recommend this class.”

The classes are interactive, with member participation and brainstorming encouraged but not required.  The group format is helpful because participants are able to share what has and has not worked for them.

When you join a group, you do have something in common with someone else. Your experience might not be exactly the same, but similar: “It’s hard to get to the doctor.” “Should I take this medication?” “This is how I made the decision.”  “Learning that you aren’t alone helps.”

The whole goal is to help people problem-solve and identify what they can control and to help them deal with the emotions around what they can’t control.”  Problem-solving is key.

Dealing with chronic health conditions can feel overwhelming at times, but breaking the challenge down into small parts and tackling them one at a time can help. The class series and the accompanying workbook, “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions,” encourage people to make action plans and set small, achievable goals — which can be as simple as walking around the block every day.  Often, half of the battle is just getting started.

The curriculum is based on a five-year research project by Stanford University and includes input from the first 1,000 participants in the chronic disease self-management study as well as many health professionals.

The book explains that having a chronic health problem causes most people to experience fatigue and to lose physical strength and endurance. It also can cause emotional distress, including frustration, anger, anxiety and feelings of helplessness. So, a healthy way to live with the chronic condition or illness is to work at overcoming the physical, mental and emotional problems it causes.

Southeastern Colorado AHEC staff has offered these self-management classes since April 2013.  For more information or to register, call 719-544-7833.

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