Free evening workshop at Sun Life begins January 6

Lindsey Gemme

Do you suffer from a chronic illness or pain? Do you feel like you are living day-to-day, a slave to your symptoms? Then a free workshop offered by Sun Life Family Health Center in Casa Grande might be for you.

Starting Tuesday, January 6, 2015, Sun Life will be hosting the six-week workshop at its Casa Grande location, 865 N. Arizola Road. The workshop runs every Tuesday from January 6 to February 10 from 5:00-7:30 p.m.

It could change your life.

So many have benefitted from this statewide workshop. Take Kathy, for instance. Kathy was diagnosed a year ago with a rare, progressive and frequently fatal lung disease. In June she participated in a chronic conditions self-management workshop called Healthy Living.

“I loved it,” said Kathy, 56, who has conducted workshops on a variety of issues and was so impressed by the impact of the class that she is now facilitating it to her peers.

A key to the success of the workshops, which began in Prescott and Tucson over four years ago, is that people who live with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or arthritis help teach others how to do it.

Kathy said the workshops taught her how to be more proactive in dealing with her condition, and the significance of making small changes in her life.

“It’s just bunches of little, meaningful changes that have a big impact,” Kathy said.

The program, developed by Stanford University, uses two trained peer leaders, one or both of whom have a chronic condition, to facilitate the small-group workshops. Each workshop lasts six weeks. Participants meet once a week for two and one-half hours.

Anyone with a chronic condition such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, asthma or any other ongoing health problem is welcome to participate. Caregivers or family members who serve as caregivers are welcomed.

Set in an intimate and informal setting, participants learn to use tools such as brainstorming, problem-solving and “action plans.” They incorporate those skills into their lives to address a host of issues from dealing with fatigue, pain and feelings of isolation, to increasing exercise, healthful eating and better communication skills with family members, friends and health care professionals.

During the workshop, 10-16 participants sit in a semi-circle and share details of their lives. They discuss their progress on individual goals, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, or on how they integrate relaxation and exercise techniques into their day-to-day activities.

The workshops are open to people with chronic conditions, as well as to their family members and caregivers. The individuals in a workshop often become a close support system for one another during the workshop and sometimes after it ends.

Class sizes are limited, and pre-registration is required. To register, contact Lindsey Gemme at 520-836-3446 or by email at Lindsey.Gemme@slfhc.org by Friday, January 2, 2015.

About Sun Life Family Health Center

Sun Life Family Health Center is Pinal County’s largest primary care provider and was one of the first community health centers in the state to have received accreditation from the Joint Commission (the gold standard of quality in healthcare). Sun Life serves both insured and uninsured Pinal County patients and provides health services in family practice, dentistry, women’s health, pediatrics, diabetes education and much more.

Sun Life has several area family practice offices located in Casa Grande, Eloy, Coolidge, Maricopa, Oracle, San Manuel and Apache Junction. The Casa Grande general health facility, located on N. Arizola Road, houses management operations as well as family dentistry and orthodontics and provides in-house radiology, pharmacy and laboratory services. The Center for Women and the Center for Children on Florence Boulevard in Casa Grande offer women’s wellness/maternity care and pediatric care respectively. Our San Manuel family practice also offers radiology, diabetes education and pharmacy services. Our Eloy, San Manuel and Apache Junction locations offer family practice and a public pharmacy. Coolidge, Maricopa, and Oracle are all family practice locations.

To learn more about office locations and hours, visit www.sunlifefamilyhealth.org. Sun Life…Excellence in Health Care.