Facts for Families

Facts for Families

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Take Charge of Your Diabetes!

By Cheri Burcham, Family Life Educator


Although today's generation of older adults is living longer, healthier lives, 80% of them are living with at least one chronic health condition. Chronic health conditions include diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, COPD and hypertension. Diabetes is one that is on the rise, with 29.1 million Americans diagnosed as diabetic and 86 million Americans age 20 and older diagnosed as pre-diabetic (2012). Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is also increasingly being diagnosed in children.

The best approach to address diabetes and other chronic conditions is to consult a health care professional and follow his/her instructions, but you can also play a large part in the management of those conditions. There are programs that have been developed to teach patients how to self-manage their chronic illness symptoms with a variety of techniques. "Take Charge of Your Diabetes" is a six-week workshop series designed for anyone that wants to become better self-advocates and self-managers of their illness. This program was developed by Stanford University and leads program participants through several group activities and provides information on topics like stress and pain management, relaxation techniques, difficult emotions, medication management, exercise and nutrition, and effective communication with family and medical personnel. Participants also compose action plans each week, outlining the goals they want to accomplish and the steps they need to take for reaching those goals. Also, participants can benefit from the resources and support of each other.

Sheila Greuel of Covenant Transitions and myself will be facilitating a "Take Charge of Your Diabetes" workshop series at the LifeSpan Center of Coles County. Classes will be offered Thursday afternoons starting March 8 – April 12, from 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM. There is no cost for participants who complete the series due to funding by the U.S. Administration on Community Living. Registration is required by contacting the Coles County Extension Office at 345-7034 or by e-mailing me at cburcham@illinois.edu . University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs & employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the Extension office.

If you have diabetes, I hope that in addition to consulting a physician, you can take advantage of this evidence-based program that allows you to take control of your condition – instead of it taking control of you!


For more information on family life-related topics, contact Cheri Burcham at University of Illinois Extension at 217-543-3755 or at cburcham@illinois.edu For more information on University of Illinois Unit 19 programming and to read more helpful articles, visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/index.html or call us at (217)345-7034. Also visit the Family Files Blog at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hkmw/eb380/


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