Can Evidence-Based Healthy Living Programs Really Help?

Posted on

Jan 31, 2017

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Many programs are described as being evidence-based but what does this really mean?
The Center for Healthy Aging at the National Council on Aging (NCOA) says that evidence-based programming translates tested program models or interventions into practical, effective community programs that can provide proven health benefits to participants. The evidence is evaluated by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), and they are based on research and provide an ideal model for giving older adults this information and support.

In terms of health outcomes, some outstanding results have occurred when a commitment is made to any of the 6-week chronic disease self-management programs - small group education workshops developed at Stanford University for management of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, other conditions. Benefits include reduced pain and fatigue, improved range of motion, increased physical activity, elevated mood, improved psychological well-being and increased confidence in managing health.

Health reform efforts, including the formation of accountable care organizations and patient centered medical homes, are driving the need for more wellness programs, particularly among older adults. Minuteman Senior Services offers these programs free to participants, thanks to private grant funding. We work in partnership with Councils on Aging, hospitals and physician practices, faith communities and other groups to help people prevent falls and better manage their chronic conditions. Each 6 week program is designed to help people develop the skills and confidence to manage their health condition, and is facilitated from a highly detailed manual by two leaders who have been trained and certified. Self-management helps reduce disease symptoms and improves quality of life, helping people be more active and independent, and active partners in their health. Techniques are taught to deal with pain, fatigue and physical limitations, and skills like goal-setting, problem-solving, and overcoming barriers are demonstrated. As class size is limited, group participants benefit not only from the evidence-based information provided, but also from the camaraderie that discussing challenges and offering support to others brings. Sign up for a class and see what a difference a 6 week program can make!
To locate a program anywhere in Massachusetts, visit the Healthy Living Center for Excellence website at and click on program schedule.
Submitted by Patti Dubielak, Director of Marketing and Development, Minuteman Senior Services

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