Center on Aging Northeast hosts dealing with chronic disease

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 senior life center is working to keep it's members informed.

St. Bernard's Senior Life Center held a seminar on Tuesday about chronic disease with the Center on Aging.

Director for the Center on Aging, Beverly Parker, says the key to living with a chronic illness is knowing how to manage the symptoms that go along with it.

"What we're trying to do is get people to look at their chronic disease a bit differently. We think about disease and things that happen to us and just want someone to fix it. However, if you have a chronic illness, something that you're going to deal with the rest of your life, it's important to know the various aspects of the disease but more so how to deal with the symptoms."

Parker says they encourage people to deal with their symptoms with a step by step process, "Our program is built around an action plan of what the person wants to try to accomplish by taking small steps to control their illness and to control their symptoms of the illness."

The Director for St. Bernard's Senior Life Center, Becky McDaniel-Ewart, says they try to hold classes at the center that will be beneficial to there members, "There are lots and lots of seniors who have diseases and need a whole lot of educational opportunities. And so, this class is great for them because they're free to ask questions. They get all kinds of information in regards to their diabetes. When their sugar levels are high, when they're low, and what to do."

Parker says just because a person has been living with a chronic illness for some time, that doesn't mean there aren't solutions out there that can make their day to day life easier.

"Well, they may know about it. But knowing about it and controlling the symptoms of their illness might be different. For instance, pain. Looking at pain differently. Looking at pain as it relates to fatigue or anxiety. So, therefore, if you know you get anxious and you know you get fatigue. At that point, when you get more pain, you can do small steps that will keep that symptom cycle in control."

McDaniel-Ewart says events like this often provide more than information, it can be a support system.

"It just gives them support. They can talk to each other. They can always meet somebody else whose got what they've got and kind of sometimes develop buddies. And if they're not feeling well that day they can call that friend. We've had this class here before and it's just done really, really well."

This is the first of a six week series on chronic disease management.

Parker says they will be taking people through the second class, but after that it will be closed.

For more information about this seminar or the Center on Aging you can call 870-336-5088 or log onto their website.

For additional information about events taking place at St. Bernard's Senior Life Center, you can log onto their website, as well.

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