Did You Know…
- Chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis, as well as disabilities that result from injuries such as falls account for 7 out of every 10 deaths in the United States (1)
- Currently, more than 80% of people older than 65 suffer from at least one chronic illness (2)
- In 2000, direct medical expenditures for treating chronic disease accounted for approximately 75% of all U.S. healthcare costs(3)
- Seventy-seven percent of the fall-related deaths in Colorado involve older adults (4)
- Each year the costs for older adults hospitalized for fall related injuries in Colorado total more than $263 million. (4)
The Weld Aging Well Program was established in correlation with the Administration on Aging’s Health, Prevention, and Wellness Program to focus on the utilization of evidence-based self-management programs.
Evidence-based programs have been determined by research to have a positive health outcome and have been published. According to the National Council on Aging, prevention works for older adults with positive results such as: longer life; fewer years of disability prior to death; fewer falls; improved mental health by a positive effect on depressive symptoms and possible delays in loss of cognitive function; and lower health care costs.
Description of Program
The Weld Aging Well Program offers Weld County residents various tools they may use to take control of their own health and their own longevity. Staff and volunteers are trained in a variety of evidence-based self-management programs to teach these tools to participants of the classes. The program collaborates with various community organizations, businesses, agencies, et. al., to provide a comprehensive program that promotes a positive health outlook on growing older by offering the use of space to hold the classes, marketing, and encouraging others to participate.
A Matter of Balance program was developed by MaineHealth’s Partnership for Healthy Aging. It is specifically designed to reduce the fear of falling, stop the fear of falling cycle, and increase activity levels among community- dwelling older adults. The program focuses on practical coping strategies. A variety of activities address physical, social, and cognitive factors affecting fear of falling. The workshop is offered over 8 sessions for 2 hours each session.
Healthier Living, also known as Be Well Colorado, was developed at the Stanford University Patient Education Research Center. This six week, 2 1/2 hour per week workshop, educates people with any type of chronic conditions (such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and/or asthma) how to be more effective in managing their disease conditions by providing tools that assist them in taking control of their own health. Some topics include: techniques to deal with frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation; importance of exercise and proper nutrition; medication management; and improving communication with family, friends, and health care professionals.
Diabetes Self-Management Program was also developed at the Stanford University Patient Education Research Center. This six week, 2 1/2 hour per week workshop is designed to help individuals manage their diabetes. The program empowers older adults with diabetes to manage their care better by helping them to develop and carry out weekly action plans.
The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program was developed by Legacy Health System’s Caregiver Services Department and modeled after Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. This educational program provides family caregivers with tools to increase their self-care and confidence. Research has shown high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers. Increased vulnerability to health problems and feeling powerless has a significant impact on caregivers’ physical and emotional health. Data from class participant evaluations indicates: significant improvement in behaviors such as exercise, relaxation techniques and health self-care; improved emotions, including reduced anger, guilt, and depression; increased self-efficacy in coping with caregiver demands; and increased use of community services.
The Strong Women/Strong People Program was developed by the John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Tufts University. The benefits of this strength training class for older adults include: increased muscle mass and strength; improved bone density and reduced risk for osteoporosis and related fractures; reduced risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and obesity; and improved self-confidence, sleep and vitality.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging
- Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care [report]. Baltimore, M.D.: Johns Hopkins University, Partnership for Solutions, December 2002, p. 11.
- R.E. Mechanic, Disease management: A promising approach for health care purchaser, National Health Care Purchasing Institute, May 2002.
- Injury Epidemiology Brief: Injuries Due to Falls Among Older Adults Coloradans, Age 65 and Older: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, August 2008.