January 9, 2013

Help for living a healthy life


---- — ELLENBURG DEPOT — Crystal Carter leads seniors to their physical and mental best through “Living a Healthy Life,” a workshop starting Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the fire station here.

The peer-led health-education program will meet from 1 to 3:30 p.m. for six weeks every Tuesday at the Ellenburg Depot Volunteer Fire Department, 5035 Route 11.

The program helps seniors develop strategies for ongoing health conditions such as hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and depression.

“It’s an evidence-based program through Stanford University,” said Carter, who is director for the Clinton County Office for the Aging.

“What we do is present information on healthy eating, exercise and working with your physician on managing your chronic condition. Most people have to manage their chronic condition.”

The workshop leaders like Carter know firsthand about chronic conditions. She has hypertension.

“The first time, we start working on building an action plan,” she said. “We have them work on an action plan every week. The next week we talk about what people did in their action plan. You build your plan on what you want to do, not what your doctor said you should do or your family said you should do, but what you want to do.” 

A participant may set a goal of walking for 10 minutes and then increase to 15 minutes the next week, Carter said.

“You get support from the other members. The group helps you find ways around your barriers. Someone may say, ‘I wasn’t able to walk outside because it’s too cold.’ The group tries to find a way they can exercise in their home,” Carter said.

An action plan may include talking to your doctor about exercising, communicating more with your doctor or taking medications faithfully.

“It works for all kinds of conditions,” Carter said. “We’re trying to bring the workshops out to the community because people are always doing things in Plattsburgh.”

The Clinton County Office for the Aging is among various agencies participating in the health initiative through the Eastern Adirondack Healthcare Network. Other partners include Alice Hyde Medical Center; Mental Health Association of Clinton and Franklin Counties; Mental Health Association of Essex County; Public Health Department, Clinton County; Northern Adirondack Medical Home; Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Essex County; and Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Franklin County.

“We hold the license from Stanford University, so we can have these workshops in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties,” said Lythia “Lee” Vera, project coordinator. “We facilitated training so peer leaders from different agencies can offer these workshops under our license.”

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Register for the workshop by calling the Office for the Aging at 565-4620.

For additional information, call the Eastern Adirondack Health Care Network at 564-3371.