SOWEGA Ups Wellness Activities

The SOWEGA Council on Aging, Inc. coordinates programs and services for seniors and individuals with disabilities; helping them live longer, live safely, and live well. Our service area includes 14 counties in Southwest Georgia: Dougherty, Lee, Terrell, Worth, Mitchell, Grady, Decatur, Thomas, Colquitt, Miller, Seminole, Calhoun, Early, and Baker.

Like many of our friends around the state, our Wellness Program has been booming with lots of new and exciting programming! We are all faced with the challenge of changing the stigma of senior centers from one of a “day care for seniors” to one where they can “actively age”.  Actively aging encompasses the mind, body and spirit. Through all of our various programs, I am confident we are moving the needle in this area. Here are just a few of our highlights from the past several months.

SOWEGA Council on Aging brings Pedaling for Parkinson’sTM to Southwest Georgia

 

Picture of people with Parkinson's riding a bike

Exercise Your Brain…Ride A Bike!

What if you were told that pedaling a bicycle could change the life of someone with Parkinson’s disease?

While there is no cure for the disease, which affects more than 1 million people in the United States, there is compelling evidence that Pedaling for Parkinson’s makes a real difference for many who try it. 

The program is supported by research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic which showed a 35% reduction in symptoms by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace – optimally, 80-90 revolutions per minute. Fast-paced cycling is changing the lives of increasing numbers of individuals who, before this, had no hope beyond medication and eventually surgery to slow the progression of their disease.

To better serve those in the Southwest Georgia area who are living with Parkinson’s disease, the SOWEGA Council on Aging is expanding wellness programs and has become a licensed partner of the Pedaling for Parkinson’sTM program.

We launched our very first Pedaling for Parkinson’sTM pilot group at the Kay H. Hind Senior Life Enrichment Center in May 2018. It was a great success! We now offer this program year-round at no cost to the patient.

The mission of this program is:

·        To improve the quality of life of Parkinson’s disease patients and their caregivers;

·        To educate patients, caregivers, and the general public about the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle after a Parkinson’s diagnosis;

·        To support research dedicated to prevention and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Pedaling for Parkinson’sTM goes far beyond just meeting the physical needs of the participant. In addition, this program addresses the mental and emotional need of a “support group on wheels”. Past participants expressed an increased level of confidence and support when exercising with participants who were “like them”.

For more information on this program, contact Robin McCord, Wellness Coordinator, at (229) n435-6789.  

Group Exercise Classes help our Seniors Actively Age

Chair ExercisesAt our Senior Center in Albany, we are very fortunate to have a beautiful ballroom and wellness room where our seniors can safely exercise. All classes are led by qualified staff or volunteers who are here to serve! There is no charge to attend any of our group exercise classes, helping to remove this as a barrier to living a healthy lifestyle. Here is a list of our classes and when they are offered:

Chair Yoga: Monday’s at 3 pm & Friday’s at 9 am

Group ExercisesChair Fitness: Monday’ & Tuesday’s at 10 am / Tuesday’s & Thursday’s at 11 am

Line Dancing: Monday’s at 11 am & Wednesday’s at 3 pm

Indoor Cycling: Tuesday’s at 4 pm

Drumming: Friday’s at 10: 15 am

Community Gardening at Its Best

Like many community gardens, the idea of it is always exciting at first. Then….the real work of planting, maintaining, watering, and harvesting sets in. We are proud to say that the PAC committee at the Senior Life Enrichment Center in Dougherty County has taken the community garden on as their wellness project for this year. Several members from this center are often seen arriving early to the center to beat the heat so they can volunteer their time to maintain the garden. This past spring/ summer, they grew okra, peppers, peas, zucchini and squash. Once harvested, the vegetables are used as BINGO prizes in our senior centers.

Senior Garden 1
Senior Garden 2

Tai Chi Instructors Getting Trained

In August 2018, we hosted a Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Instructor Workshop. We had 20 participants take this workshop. Of this 20, 7 of our own staff received this certification and will now be able to begin leading more Tai Chi workshops at our senior centers in our more rural areas.

Tai Chi 1
Tai Chi 2

New Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Lay Leaders

Thanks to Loreatha Jenkins and Nicole Gaither, CDSMP Master Trainers, we were able to send 3 volunteers and 1 staff person to the CDSMP Lay Leader workshop that was held September 2018. We are looking forward to being able to expand our offering of this evidence-based program in our service area in the near future.

CDSMP Lay Leader 1
CDSMP Lay Leader 2

Active Aging Week

Our senior centers in all 14 counties were challenged to create a host of active aging activities the last week in September. Many of them spotlighted their wellness classes, played games, and held community walks as part of this week-long celebration. Below are some pictures from the Riverwalk in Albany, GA. Our active seniors were encouraged to walk a half mile or a full mile. We also did a little Tai Chi in the park. All in all, it was a great day!  

Active Aging 1
Active Aging 3
Active Aging 2
Active Aging 4

For more information about SOWEGA Council on Aging, Inc., please go to www.sowegcoa.org .

Coastal Expansion of Evidence-Based Programs

Coastal Area Agency on Aging is one of 12 Area Agencies on Aging who offers the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP).  Coastal’s Wellness Program always seek organized, energetic individuals who are willing to lead a co-led class to help older adults in the local community remain independent, improve quality of life, and be a self-manager of their health.  In Coastal, the CDSMP is referred to as Living Well Coastal.

Recently, two new community partners joined the Coastal AAA in an effort of furthering program sustainability throughout the Coastal region; Savannah State University Department of Social Work and the Humanities Foundation. The Coastal partners with Savannah State University Social Work Department to train interns as lay-leaders who assist in facilitating workshops.  Interns facilitate at least one workshop during their field experience. Interns also support senior center managers with daily activities, present various nutrition education topics, and engage seniors with group activities. These interns gain valuable field experience as they tour the AAA and learn of staff roles and responsibilities. The Humanities Foundation also helps sustain the Wellness Programs by funding additional evidence-based programs in Bryan County. Living Well Coastal and the Powerful Tools for caregivers have been offered at Ashleigh’s Place Apartments.

Along with Living Well Coastal, the Coastal AAA offers other wellness programs such as the Diabetes Self-Management Program, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, a Matter of Balance, and Tai Chi for Arthritis & Fall Prevention. These programs largely depend on volunteers, center managers, community partners, ADRC staff, and the Wellness Program Manager to facilitate the programs.

Coastal offers training to energetic lay-leaders twice a year in the fall and spring. Training is either two (2) days or four (4) days depending on the program. For more information on becoming a lay-leader contact the Wellness Coordinator at 912-437-0843.   (Insert pictures of training)

CSRA Agency on Aging Develops Community Partnerships

The CSRA Regional Commission Agency on Aging (AAA) serves seniors and persons with disabilities for Wilkes, Lincoln, Columbia, McDuffie, Warren, Taliaferro, Hancock, Washington, Glascock, Jefferson, Burke, Jenkins and Screven counties. CSRA Agency on Aging recognizes the importance of collaborating with other organizations to serve our communities.  Two health and wellness collaborations over the past year include Comprehensive Health Management, Inc. (Wellcare) and Elizabeth Jones, Executive Director at Shiloh Community Center.

The CSRA AAA received a grant from Wellcare that provided the Chronic Disease Self-Management workshops to our local communities and Wellcare members. The grant helped to offset fees associated with the cost of workshop. The AAA was able to provide additional class materials including tote bags, pens, and pad folios to enhance the participant’s experience. This grant was meaningful to the participants, allowing the AAA to reach individuals who could not afford the registration fee. We also worked with Wellcare staff, providing monthly workshop information along with monthly member referrals from their case management nurses. The CSRA Agency on Aging was able to make a difference in 44 lives, thanks to the generosity of Wellcare. This wonderful referral partnership is still intact to this date even though the grant period has ended.   

Another fantastic partnership has been with Elizabeth Jones, Tai Chi Instructor. Elizabeth has gone out to senior centers, churches, senior living communities, and assisted living facilities in many of our counties to provide Tai Chi for Health workshops. She has been an integral part in spreading the word for our falls prevention workshops and recruiting participants and host sites everywhere she goes! She stays up to date on the needs of each community and reports that back to the AAA. She also offers additional wellness activities after participants complete the 8-week Tai Chi workshop to keep them active and healthy.

CSRA Agency on Aging looks forward to expanding our reach with new partnerships with each passing year.   

Welcome to Atlanta Regional Commission

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the designated Area Agency on Aging (AAA) that provides services to older adults and persons with disabilities in Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as well as the city of Atlanta. ARC supports healthy living and healthy aging programs throughout the metro Atlanta area by offering a range of services designed to ensure an improved quality of life.

One of the programs offered by the AAA is the “Living Well” suite of evidence-based workshops. These workshops are designed specifically for individuals who are challenged with a range of chronic health conditions, someone with diabetes, or a person who is interested in learning ways to prevent falls. 

The National Council on Aging reports that the top ten chronic health conditions in adults age 65 and over are hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, depression, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer and dementia, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Eighty percent (80%) of this group will report having at least one chronic condition, and 68% has two or more chronic conditions. As for falls prevention, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall, and every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.

ARC is available to provide members of the communities we serve with the necessary tools to help manage chronic health conditions and learn falls prevention techniques. We will help you to become comfortable with various behavior modifications that can help improve your confidence and make your day-to- day living more stress-free and enjoyable.

The “Living Well” workshops are hosted at community centers, senior centers, senior living locations and churches throughout the metropolitan area. The workshops can accommodate up to 16 individuals at a time and are led by two certified peer leaders.

Living Well Workshops

Healthy Changes for Living with Chronic Conditions (a.k.a. Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program/CDSMP)

This 6-week workshop teaches individuals how to cope with ongoing health conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, asthma, COPD, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and more. Participants learn how to work with doctors, manage symptoms, set realistic goals, and embrace relaxation techniques and healthy eating. Groups meet once a week for 2 1/2
hours for six consecutive weeks.

Healthy Changes for Living with Diabetes (a.k.a. Stanford University’s Diabetes Self-Management Program/ DSMP)

This 6-week workshop helps individuals understand symptoms and associated complications of diabetes, the importance of medication adherence, and how to control sugar levels. Participants will also learn tips to maintain a healthy weight and techniques to manage anxiety, stress, and frustration. Groups meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours for six consecutive weeks.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers
This 6-week workshop helps caregivers learn to reduce stress, communicate their needs to family members, make tough caregiving decisions, and more. Groups meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours for six consecutive weeks.

A Matter of Balance
This 8-week workshop helps individuals reduce their fear of falling and increases activity among older adults. Participants reduce the number of injuries resulting from falls through practical lifestyle adjustments. Groups meet once a week for 2 1/2 hours for eight consecutive weeks.

For more information contact: Lynda Conner at (470) 378-1630 or by email at
lconner@atlantaregional.org

While you consider which of the self-management programs would be best for you, take a look at the following thoughts to help you with your day-to-day routine.



“A Therapist’s Prescription for Better Mental Health”
 Treat yourself with kindness
 Say “no” when you need to
 Don’t compare yourself to others
 Embrace your mistakes, they don’t define you
 Be truly present
 Make fun a priority
 Savor good memories
 Laugh often
 Anticipate joy
 Clear out the physical and emotional clutter
 Move your body more
 Put your phone down; connect with the people you’re with

By Sharon Martin, LCSW
Visit Sharon’s site for more:
https://sharonmartincounseling.com/a-therapists-prescription-for-better-mental-health

River Valley Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging Kicks Off Fiscal Year With a Roar

Eight (8) CDSMP lay leaders were certified in August and were all ready to start teaching interested persons how to manage their chronic diseases. The Lay Leader class was taught on August 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th. The first person to teach a CDSMP community class was Katrina Tanner of the RVRC/AAA. Pictured left to right: Jessie Dawson, Marcella Bryant, Yolanda Thomas, Nicole Gaither, Katrina Tanner, LaTanjulla Benjamin, Betty Martin-Woods, Rodney Rawls, Franetta Miles, Marie Peterson

Katrina taught a class at Waverly Terrace Senior Apartments where nine (8) seniors completed the class. (see photo below).  The class dates were Oct, 24th, 31st, November 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th.

Left to Right: Lay Leader Katrina Tanner, class participants, Johnny King, Lena Woodall, Beverly Hines, Patsy Brown, Bobbie Hardge, Ruhnell Bankston. Not Pictured: Master Trainer, Franetta Miles, class participants, Virginia Bailey, Patricia Davidson and Arthur Moton.
Virginia Bailey
Virginia Bailey, participant at the CDSMP Community Class at Waverly Terrace Senior Apartments

While taking the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program I have learned so many things to improve my health. For starters, I’ve improved my eating habits by reading food labels before preparing meals. I also learned that exercise can be fun if you start off at a speed which is suitable for you and then increase your regimen. I plan to continue with my Action Planning because it makes me feel better. I appreciate the much needed information. -Virginia Bailey

Marie Peterson of the RVRC/AAA is scheduled to begin a CDSMP community class on January 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th February 6th and 13th. This will be taught at Arbor Point Cottages and the class is filling up quickly!  Additional lay leaders trained in August are planning classes for the new year which will allow all eight (8) lay leaders to be certified within the required timelines.

Master Trainer Franetta Miles and guest Master Trainer Ilona Preattle taught a Matter of Balance Coach Class on December 13th and 14th to six (6) completers.

Pictured standing left to right: Isom Williams, Katrina Tanner, Robin McCord, Mary Fluellen, Linda Adams and Dean Lemmon. Pictured seated left to right: Master Trainer, Franetta Miles and Master Trainer, Ilona Preattle.