AFS Blog

Take Charge of Your Health!

Take Charge of Your Health!

What is most important to you as you age? For most of us, the hope is to remain independent at home with good health and be productive members of our community.

Currently, we are witnessing a demographic shift. There are fewer births and an increased lifespan. We need to prepare for this reality. Many older adults are living with challenges, including chronic disease. According to the National Council on Aging data, chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease disproportionally affect older adults. As much as 80% of adults aged 65 and older have at least one chronic condition. These conditions can limit a person’s ability to perform daily activities, cause them to lose their independence, and result in the need for institutional care. Multiple chronic conditions affect nearly 70% of Medicare beneficiaries, and these individuals account for two-thirds of all health care costs and 93% of Medicare spending. Sadly, less than 1% of U.S. health care dollars is spent on prevention to improve health.

We are fortunate to be living in a community that offers the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL), in partnership with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and local community partners, are working together to offer the Stanford University evidence-based CDSMP.

Each workshop consists of six (6) weekly sessions, two and a half (2.5) hours per session. Two trained leaders facilitate workshops. Subjects covered in the workshop include:

  • Techniques to deal with frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Appropriate use of medication
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  • Nutrition
  • Decision making
  • How to evaluate new treatments

So, what can you do to help? The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is currently looking for individuals to become certified workshop leaders for this program. This training is provided at no cost with a commitment to lead CDSMP workshops on behalf of the AAASWFL. This will be virtual training, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30pm-5pm, from January 27th to March 10th. If you are interested, please reach out to Sarah Gualco at 239-652-6914 or

You can change someone’s life!


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