PATH (Personal Action Toward Health) is a program designed to help people that suffer from an on-going health condition such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, etc. The six week program teaches individuals to deal with the challenges of not feeling well, handle everyday activities more easily, control pain and fatigue, communicate with your health care professionals and stay independent.
Who Should Attend?
This program is suitable for anyone living with a long-term health condition, such as asthma, chronic fatigue, COPD, depression, diabetes, heart conditions, HIV, MS, ongoing pain or any other chronic health problem.
What is taught?
During the six two-and-a half hour sessions, participants learn to:
- Reduce stress, fatigue and muscle tension with techniques using the mind.
- Discover ways to communicate effectively with their doctors, nurses and family members.
- Develop and maintain healthy eating habits.
- Discover tips about using medications and deciding if new treatments are right for them.
- Exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, balance and endurance.
- Recognize and manage the stress, frustration, depression and other feelings that may occur when living with a long-term illness.
- Develop and practice skills for problem-solving, decision-making, and setting goals for what the participant identifies as important to them.
What do Participants Say?
“We learned how to cope with our pains. And we always discussed our problems. It helped us keep going and get things done.”
Talking with other seniors about your problems and concerns is one of the major benefits of the PATH program. It helps combat the sense of isolation many seniors feel, and participants often make several new friends.
“By coming together you know you’re not the only one who has problems. We stay in touch, and we’re always glad to see the ones we went to class with.”
"I liked it because it’s a discussion-type program, not just a person lecturing. By sharing, people help each other.”
Participants found that setting goals with the group helped motivate them.
“If you have to go back and report on your goal, it encourages you a little more. It just seems people are more apt to do it if they have to report it.”
In addition to setting weekly goals, PATH provides the information and tools to help seniors address important issues like living wills and medication use.
“It’s a good reminder to people of things to do”.
Would your organization like to offer PATH classes in your community or become a PATH Lay Leader?
Facilitator training sessions, known as Lay Leader training sessions offered by Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in becoming a Lay Leader or would like to host a PATH class at your facility.