Learning to live with your chronic disease

Jocelyn Turner
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Maryanne Jackson, volunteer coordinator for the Your Way to Wellness program is gearing up for the first session of the program taking place in Amherst Tuesday evening at the Cumberland Health Care Centre. The program is designed to help people living with chronic diseases learn to stay healthy and manage their ailment while still doing all the things they love. 

Amherst Daily News

SPRINGHILL – Living with arthritis or diabetes can be difficult. You may feel like you have to give up some of your daily rituals like that long walk youi take every day with your furry best friend. But the Your Way to Wellness program is showing chronic disease suffers they can still do all the things they want while managing their ailments.

“It’s a six week program and we offer two and a half hours every week. We also offer it to caregivers,” said Maryanne Jackson, a volunteer coordinator for the program and volunteer services with the Cumberland Health Authority. “What we do is every week, we have different topics. We’ll cover things like eating healthier and keeping active. A lot of times, someone will be diagnosed with a type of chronic condition and they stop doing everything because they can’t do it to the capacity that they did before.”

A lot of participants from the program are diagnosed with a chronic ailment like arthritis and believe they can’t do the same activities they enjoy, such as yard work. Jackson said the program leaders, who are also living with a chronic condition, teach the members they are still able to do all the things they love but need to adjust their routines to accommodate their diagnosis.

“We had a client who liked to pile wood. Once he had a chronic condition, he stopped piling the wood,” she said. “Well, he really looked forward to doing every morning. We talked about goal setting and taught him how to look at it a little differently. So he can’t pile three-quarter wood like he used to but, in the morning, he could get it up, pile wood for 10 or 15 minutes and take a break and go back at it after lunch for another 10 or 15 minutes.”

The program will also cover different ways to manage their symptoms, improve self-confidence, manage any fear anger and frustration about their diagnosis as well as managing daily tasks, learning to talk to their doctors and health care team and goal setting. The program in Amherst will begin on Tuesday evening at the Cumberland Health Care Centre and will also be taking place in other communities in Cumberland County at different locations and times. To find out more about the program or to register, contact Maryanne Jackson at (902) 597-5400 ext. 8145 or email her at Maryanne.jackson@cha.nshealth.ca


Organizations: Daily News, Cumberland Health Authority, Cumberland Health Care Centre

Geographic location: Amherst, Cumberland County

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