Your Way to Wellness Program Makes a Difference for People with Chronic Conditions in Cape Breton

Last spring, retired teacher Lila Carson traded one classroom for another…sort of.

A diabetic for 20 years, Carson had just learned that she needed to go on insulin. Not quite ready to do that, she enrolled in the six-week “Your Way to Wellness” program to help manage her diabetes.

“I learned something at every class,” she says. “I had slacked off on my exercise then I found this awesome exercise chart and it just motivated me to get back into exercising. I went from exercising one day a week to six days a week. Now, I track my nutrition and my exercising which are key for me being diabetic.”

“Your Way to Wellness” is a free program that teaches people how to live with chronic health conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, fibromyalgia and mild depression. In the course, people learn new skills, problem solving strategies and gain confidence in their ability to manage and cope with their chronic condition.

“Participants tell me that the sessions have helped them to return to many activities they stopped because of their condition,” says Kelly MacIsaac, Your Way to Wellness Coordinator. “They experience more self-confidence when they are dealing with their chronic condition and feel better about their ability to self-manage.”

Participants also give and receive support from others who have similar health concerns which was something Carson appreciated.

“When you have a chronic condition, you don’t sleep well and then to hear other people say, ‘you too’, it’s very affirming,” she says. “You get to know people and you learn about their condition and you encourage each other.”

The program is designed for groups of 10 to 15 people. It runs two and a half hours per week for six weeks. Sessions are led by trained volunteers, most of who live with chronic conditions themselves. Spouses, family, friends, relatives and neighbours are also welcome to attend.

Carson recommends the free program to anyone who has a chronic condition or has a loved one with a chronic condition but says that “people have to be ready to do it and you just keep encouraging them until they are ready.”

Two “Your Way to Wellness” programs will be taking place in November. The first takes place at the Dominion Hawks Community Club. It starts on Tuesday, Nov. 1 and runs from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. The second takes place at Club 55 in Sydney. It starts on Wednesday, Nov. 9 and runs from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Space is limited so pre-registration is required.

To learn more or to register for the free upcoming programs, contact Kelly MacIsaac at 902 842-0201 or by e-mail at KellyL.MacIsaac@nshealth.ca

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Media Contact:
Kelly MacIsaac, Your Way to Wellness Coordinator
KellyL.MacIsaac@nshealth.ca or 902-842-0201