Engage at Every Age

Welcome to the spring edition of MNRAAA news. I hope you will enjoy reading about what’s happening at MNRAAA and find the updates we’ve included useful and worth sharing with others.

Across the country, older Americans – a rapidly growing population – are taking part in activities that promote wellness and social connection. They are sharing their wisdom and experience with future generations, and they are giving back to enrich their communities. They’re working and volunteering, mentoring and learning, leading and engaging.

For 55 years, Older Americans Month has been observed to recognize older Americans and their contributions to communities. Led by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, it offers opportunities to hear from, support, and celebrate our nation’s older adults.

This year’s Older Americans Month theme, “Engage at Every Age,” emphasizes the importance of being active and involved, no matter one’s age. Individuals are never too old (or too young) to participate in activities that can enrich physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

MNRAAA urges all readers to take time during May to observe Older Americans Month and to recognize older adults and the valuable contributions they make, whether it’s providing care to a loved one or neighbor, volunteering at a homeless shelter, providing child care, continuing to be an active member in the workforce – the list could go on-and-on.

Let’s Engage at Every Age!

– Linda

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MNRAAA 2018 Roadshows

Learn ways your local Area Agency on Aging can help older adults, their families and service providers in southwest Minnesota.

The Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA) will be holding community seminars in Willmar, Mankato and Marshall in June. Attendees will learn more about the services provided by MNRAAA, including:

  • Senior LinkAge Line®
  • Return to Community
  • Program Development
  • Grant Funding

June 4: Marshall
June 27: Mankato
June 29: Willmar

Register online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NTP5PDD.

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A Helping Hand to Get You Back Home

By Steven Jameson, The Free Press Media

Sherry Folsom-Meeks, a retired MSU professor who lives in North Mankato has kidney failure and needs regular dialysis. Last summer she ended up in the hospital after a stroke. When she came out of the hospital, she was afraid to go home at first. Unsure whether or not she could care for herself, she went into assisted living. It was there that she met Rita Pyan, Community Living Specialist at the Senior LinkAge Line®. With Rita’s help, and the help of the assisted living facility, it took only two months before she felt comfortable and able to go home.

The Senior LinkAge Line® is a free service provided by the State of Minnesota to help older adults and their families find community services and options. The office in southern Minnesota serves 27 counties, employing five Community Living Specialists like Rita. Even though the Senior LinkAge Line® has been around for 20 years, many people don’t know about it.

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Living Well with Chronic Pain

According to the National Institutes of Health, pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. It is a leading cause of disability and a major contributor to health care costs. The diversity of pain conditions requires a diversity of research and treatment approaches.
One such approach is the evidence-based program, Living Well with Chronic Pain (LWCP). This program is a community-based intervention delivered once a week for six weeks and is intended for people who have a primary or secondary diagnosis of chronic pain. Research demonstrates that LWCP participants have less pain, improved mental health, more energy, and increased satisfaction with their lives compared to those who have not taken the program.

LWCP will not conflict with existing programs or treatment and is designed to enhance regular treatment. The program gives participants the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives.

Subjects covered in LWCP workshops include:

  1. Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, isolation, and poor sleep;
  2. Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance;
  3. Appropriate use of medications;
  4. Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals;
  5. Nutrition;
  6. Pacing activity and rest; and
  7. How to evaluate new treatments.

It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective. Workshops are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.

Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are peers with chronic pain themselves. MNRAAA will host a LWCP Leader Training on May 22, 2018 in Redwood Falls. Individuals interested in becoming a LWCP Leader can register online at mnraaa.org/living-well-with-chronic-pain. Space is limited.

The LWCP was developed by Sandra LeFort, PhD, MN, RN in 1996 at McGill University in Montreal in conjunction with Dr. Kate Lorig and the staff of the Stanford Patient Education Research Center. It was derived from Stanford’s Arthritis Self-Management Program and the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.

Like the other Stanford self-management programs, LWCP has been rigorously evaluated in two randomized clinical trials. The program has also been delivered and evaluated across 10 pain clinics in Ontario, Canada. Evaluation of the program found it to be beneficial for participants in terms of coping skills, education, and overall quality of life. To date, the program has been delivered to hundreds of individuals with chronic pain. The first LWCP workshops in MNRAAA’s service area were co-hosted by MNRAAA and Catholic Charities in Jackson and New Ulm. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, it’s easy to find LWCP workshops in Minnesota through one website, YourJuniper.org.

“People who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own health and healthcare have better outcomes and are less likely to develop new chronic conditions,” according to Sara Lindquist, MD, medical advisor to Juniper. “Juniper provides information that helps people to participate in their own care and to work more effectively with their healthcare provider.”

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