ATLANTA – Georgians with chronic diseases often need more than medication to manage illness. The Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP), sponsored by the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging Services, helps adults obtain extra support through peer education.
“One fourth of Americans have multiple chronic conditions,” said Dr. James Bulot, Director of DHS’ Division of Aging Services. “Many traditional support groups, however, focus on a single chronic disease. CDSMP helps participants identify common challenges and manage their health needs more holistically.”
CDSMP, an evidence-based program developed by Stanford University, enables people with chronic diseases of any type to share common challenges, learn coping strategies, and practice setting manageable personal goals. The Division of Aging Services and Georgia’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging are partnering with the Georgia Department of Public Health to expand CDSMP to communities throughout the state.
Under the facilitation of trained volunteers, workshop participants meet once a week for six weeks to discuss topics such as problem solving, dealing with difficult emotions, managing pain and fatigue, working with the healthcare system, and more. The free workshops are open to caregivers as well.
Volunteer lay leaders, most of who live with chronic diseases themselves, work in teams to guide discussion and activities. All facilitators receive training, resources, scripts, and assistance to help them manage a successful workshop.
The CDSMP will also be available to Georgians in a self-paced online format called “Better Choices Better Health.” The online program and video examples of in-person workshops are available at www.restartliving.org.
To inquire about leading, hosting, or participating in a CDSMP workshop near you, contact your region’s Area Agency on Aging. Learn more at the Division of Aging Services. Visit www.aging.ga.gov or call 866-55AGING (866-442-4464).