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The Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio Department of Aging Aging Connection

Aging Connection

CONNECT TO | Programs & Benefits
October 2010

Healthy U
It's never too late to learn how to be healthy

Older adults are living longer lives than ever before. However, this means that they also are living longer with serious chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression and arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of all adults (133 million Americans, in 2005) had at least one chronic illness and almost one in 10 Americans (approximately 25 million people) with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations. Chronic conditions shorten lives, reduce quality of life and create considerable burdens for caregivers.

Healthy U

Healthy U, a program developed by researchers at Stanford University and offered in Ohio through a partnership among the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Department of Health and local area agencies on aging, helps adults of any age with chronic diseases gain confidence in their ability to manage symptoms and understand how their health problems affect their lives.

Healthy U is different from most other health promotion programs because it is evidence-based. Evidence-based health promotion is a process of planning, implementing and evaluating programs adapted from tested models or interventions in order to address health issues. The programs are conducted according to tested protocols, so participants consistently experience outcomes very similar to those who participated in the original research. An evidence-based approach increases the likelihood of successful outcomes; enhances the ability to use common health indicators; makes it easier to defend or expand an existing program; and provides hard data for use in advocacy and promotion.

In Healthy U and Healthy U: Diabetes, individuals with different chronic health problems participate in an interactive workshop at locations within the community, two and one half hours a week for six weeks. Each workshop is facilitated by a pair of leaders, who are volunteers and often have chronic conditions themselves. Neither program is a disease treatment program. The leaders are trained to refer specific questions about health conditions to the participant's health care team. The programs are designed to enhance the effectiveness of regular treatment and disease-specific education.

The program is particularly helpful for individuals with more than one chronic condition. Participants learn how to deal with symptoms, handle frustration, design their own self-management program and coordinate all aspects of their health management. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants' confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives. Topics include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation;
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance;
  • Appropriate use of medications;
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals;
  • Nutrition; and
  • How to evaluate new treatments.

Healthy U, Healthy U: Diabetes and other evidenced-based healthy aging programs are offered through your area agency on aging. Call toll-free 1-866-243-5678 to find the nearest available program or to sponsor a program in your area.

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Programs & Benefits

Ohio veterans bonus program
All Ohio veterans could be eligible for a bonus if they served on active duty with U.S. armed forces, including the Ohio National Guard, anywhere in the world during specified periods of time. To apply for the bonus, applicants should complete the online application. Ohio's public libraries and staff at Ohio's county veterans service offices are available to assist in the application process. Veterans' applications are not complete until they are printed, notarized, signed and mailed to: Ohio Department of Veterans Services, Ohio Veterans Bonus, P.O. Box 373 Sandusky, Ohio 44871. Applicants with specific questions can call toll-free 1-877-644-6838 or visit www.veteransbonus.ohio.gov. There also are other bonuses available to eligible veterans or the families of deceased veterans.

"One stop shop" for US government recalls
To provide better service in alerting the American people to unsafe, hazardous or defective products, six federal agencies have created Recovery.gov. The site provides detailed updates on the latest recalls and allows consumers to report a dangerous product or to learn important safety tips. Consumers also can sign up, for free, to receive new recalls and safety information electronically.