Clearing the path to wellness

Andrew Wagstaff
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Program offered in Parrsboro, Springhill

PARRSBORO - There are many different forms of sickness, but the path to wellness can be the same for all, according to a program offered by the Cumberland Health Authority.

Your Way to Wellness, a chronic disease self-management program, began classes in Parrsboro on Jan. 11, and will begin in Springhill on Thursday, Jan. 12.

"Because it's a self-management program, it helps people deal with their own illness," explained Maryanne Jackson, volunteer services co-ordinator with the health authority. "We give them the tools to manage their own symptoms. It gets started with a healthy eating and exercise program, and we talk about communicating effectively with your physician and health care team."

While many people affected by these conditions may only see their doctor a few times a year, they are "on their own" for the rest of the time, explained Jackson. Your Way to Wellness aims to make sure they are living a healthier life on their own.

"Along with having a chronic condition usually comes fear, anger and frustration, and trying to deal with that on a day-to-day basis," she said. "What we try to do is give you the tools to deal with that day-to-day stuff and get more out of your daily life."

Rather than being designed for any particular diseases, the program is very general. Every participant gets a free copy of the book Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, and gathers with other participants in a positive social environment.

"With some chronic conditions, people usually suffer from the same symptoms, because it comes from the same symptom cycle," explained Jackson. "Somebody with diabetes and somebody with another type of chronic illness would experience the same general types of symptoms. It could be depression, loss of sleep, and those kinds of things. We're trying to give them the tools to deal with those."

The Parrsboro and Springhill programs will run for six weeks, while the program will move to other communities in the county in March and April. There is also an effort afoot to dovetail the program with Kitchen Party, a healthy eating program being planned by the public health office.

For more information on Your Way to Wellness, contact Maryanne Jackson at 597-5400, extension 8145.

Organizations: Cumberland Health Authority.Your Way, Healthy Life, Kitchen Party

Geographic location: Parrsboro

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