BY ANNE RIDDICK

 

 

DO you, or someone close to you, live with a chronic condition? Do you feel those around you don’t fully understand what you deal with on a daily basis?

The Self-Management Health Coach Program provides free, confidential, telephone support. Trained health coaches, familiar with living life with chronic conditions, will help you understand the emotional aspects and offer guidance and tools for managing various challenges presented by chronic conditions.

A variety of challenges accompany chronic conditions. For example, you may experience depression when dealing with the loss of your good health. Recognizing and understanding this grieving process is helpful. The constant battle to accomplish, what used to be simple tasks, can sometimes feel insurmountable. Honing our problem solving skills is beneficial; as is hearing suggestions from one who has dealt with similar problems.

Occasionally, a task or solution to a problem may not be possible or may need to be revisited later. That’s when asking for help may be the best decision.  Good communication is key.

Learning how to ask for help and not assuming our friends and family know what we need is also important. We all need a good decision making tool, whether we have a chronic condition or not.

These challenges are just a few aspects of living with chronic conditions; a few we need to explore. This exploration occurs during the free Self-Management Health Coach Program provided by the University of Victoria Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health.

Weekly telephone calls are made by trained volunteer health coaches. To become a coach you must successfully complete a two-day training workshop and be available to make half-hour phone calls once a week, for up to three months. If both parties agree, this can be extended another three months.

Coaches are matched with their program participant(s) by gender, personal interests and similar chronic conditions. They have firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing others; either through their own experience or through family members or friends with similar conditions.

If you are interested in a meaningful volunteer position as a self-management health coach, or would like more information about the program, please call one of the numbers below.

Although each person and every chronic health condition may follow a different path, there are many similarities when it comes to symptoms, challenges, and how we manage them successfully.  Weekly conversations on topics such as decision making, action planning, problem solving, using your mind to manage your symptoms, healthy eating or working with your health care team provides us with insight, empowerment and validation. The Self-Management Health Coach Program offers people with chronic health conditions encouragement, support and tools necessary to accept their new health status and move forward with success.

Sharing perspectives and problems with someone who understands stimulates solutions and clarifies tools needed to self-manage. Setting goals, and making weekly action plans to work towards meeting these goals, are invaluable skills to learn and use as we journey through life.

Coaches can work with you as you develop plans and goals to improve your health. Help is just a phone call away. If you wish to join and receive your free, weekly, half–hour telephone support calls from the Self-Management Health Coach Program (to join as a participant or health coach), please call:

* Toll free: 1-866-902-3767

* Lower Mainland: 604-940-1273

www.selfmanagementbc.ca