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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

April 14, 2010

Ohio Receives $1 Million to Help Individuals Living with Chronic Diseases

Funding Directed to Programs That Teach People How to Live Healthier

COLUMBUS - Barbara E. Riley, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, announced today that Ohio has received $1 million in grant funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to help expand the state's evidence-based programs, which are designed to help Ohioans with chronic diseases learn to manage their conditions and take control of their health. Evidence-based programs are proven community initiatives that provide health benefits and promote disease prevention.

"Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in Ohio, and with more than 6.7 million Ohioans suffering from at least one chronic disease, the state has reached a chronic disease crisis," said Riley. "By empowering these adults to be in command of their heath, we're not only making a difference in their lives, but also making a difference to all Ohio taxpayers by reducing the future demand on the state's long-term care system."

Working in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, the funding will allow for the Ohio Department of Aging and the state's 12 area agencies on aging to expand the evidence-based Chronic Disease Self-Management Program statewide. Designed by Stanford University and currently available in 24 Ohio counties, this program teaches participants living with diseases, such as high blood pressure, asthma and arthritis, and their caregivers how to minimize symptoms, handle medications and design their own self-management program.

"Education is key to effectively managing chronic illness," said ODH Director Alvin D. Jackson, MD. "Through use of these recovery dollars, more aging Ohioans will discover that making even small lifestyle changes can have a big impact in improving the quality of their lives."

The funding also will allow the launch of a second evidence-based program, the Diabetes Self-Management Program, designed by Stanford University but previously available only in one Ohio community. Working again in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, participants statewide will learn how to manage the mental and physical symptoms of type 2 diabetes, eat healthy and communicate more effectively with their health care providers.

Both programs focus on the participants' role in managing their illnesses and building their confidence so they can be successful in adopting healthier behaviors. An essential element to the evidence-based programs is that they are held in community-based settings, such as senior centers, faith-based organizations and libraries and are led by certified and trained lay leaders, not medical professionals.

To expand the evidence-based programs, area agencies on aging are looking for individuals to become trained lay leaders. Lay leaders are volunteers who typically have chronic conditions themselves and conduct workshops using the prepared curriculum. They complete a training program and are mentored by master trainers. For more information about this volunteer opportunity, contact your area agency on aging at 1-866-243-5678.

About ODA

The Ohio Department of Aging provides leadership for the delivery of services and supports that improve and promote quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. Working with 12 area agencies on aging and other community partners, the department offers home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs such as PASSPORT, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.