Couple Benefits from Better Choices, Better Health

Carol has lived with type 2 diabetes for seventeen years. She experienced various phases of the disease and managing her health was a struggle. When she learned about a chronic disease self-management program during her Cosmopolitan Club meeting, she realized it was time to take action.

“I knew this was a program that my husband and I could attend together,” Carol added. “We both could benefit from the techniques taught, which would help me to better manage my diabetes and him to control his hypertension.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, over nine percent of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic condition resulting from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels. Over time and without proper treatment and care, diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including kidney disease, high blood pressure and stroke among others.

“In the past several years, I had gotten used to high blood sugar numbers and medication alone obviously wasn’t working,” reflected Carol. “The mild stroke I had last fall was a wake-up call and I knew I had to re-educate myself in the care of this tenacious disease.”

Better Choices, Better Health is a six-week program designed to help people with chronic conditions and their caregivers manage physical and mental health conditions. Master trainers and lay leaders provide the support and tools to help participants make healthier choices, improve health and lead a fuller life.

“The workshop teaches ways to eat right and exercise through goal-setting and action plans,” explained Vicki Palmreuter, master trainer and program manager for the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN). “The small group atmosphere helps foster strong relationships and the participants gain the confidence to share their struggles and victories.”

Each session of the Better Choices, Better Health workshop focuses on a different aspect of developing a healthy lifestyle. Along with goal-setting and action plans, participants learn about eating right, exercising and how to work with healthcare providers to achieve the best health outcomes.

“In writing down our weekly action plans and making them a part of our busy schedules, we found that having smaller, more achievable goals, was a much better method of realizing our overall objective of better health,” added Carol. “Now when one of us reaches for the salt shaker or a cookie, we remember the lessons taught and instead reach for a healthier alternative.”

There are a variety of diabetes self-management education options available throughout the Great Plains QIN four-state region.  Additional details regarding the diabetes care initiative can be found on the Great Plains QIN Web site.