"I don’t know if I can do this.” Sheila Murphy, 54, of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, wanted to regain her independence and also to take care of herself after the loss of her sister whom she had cared for over 12 years.
When Murphy first heard about self-management programs being offered through the Independent Living Center of Southeast Missouri, her life slowly began to change. Murphy started slowly participating in the Arthritis Foundation Aquatics program, just a few times each week. Murphy has now built up to participating about three times each week. She also enrolled as a participant of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). One of Murphy’s greatest motivators to continue taking control of her health was her family: “I felt like I owed it to them.”
While Murphy has assuredly had great success in the programs she has participated in, a success that has been observed by staff at the Independent Living Center and the Southeast Missouri Regional Arthritis Center, she feels like the greatest success is the instructors of these classes. The instructors are “all winners in my book because they keep going. My goal is to become like them.” The instructors in Murphy’s CDSMP course taught her to brainstorm and to problem solve. The ability of these individuals to relate to Murphy and her health helped her realize the importance of the class and her health. She stated that her health is getting back on track thanks to “those women and men [in her classes]; their stories have been the success”.
The Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program is a group format course offered by trained leaders. The program is a warm water exercise program shown to reduce pain and improve overall health. Murphy stated of the program that “a heavy person can feel like a ballerina in the water; it gives you hope.” The CDSMP is a group format course that is offered by trained leaders in six-week increments, meeting once per week for 2.5 hours. Participants are either persons with a long-term health condition (like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease) or a caregiver for an individual with chronic health problems. This program which was researched and designed by Stanford University and is now an evidence-based intervention, discusses techniques to deal with health problems associated with chronic conditions; appropriate exercise; appropriate use of medications; communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals; nutrition and setting goals.
The impact of Murphy’s leaders on her commitment to take back her life is apparent. Murphy has recently gone through the process to become a certified leader for CDSMP classes. And, now that Murphy has begun to feel that she has positively impacted her health, including improving her mobility, lessening her pain, and increasing her confidence, she has a goal for the next year. Murphy will be working on taking steps to get back to working at least part-time.
To find out more information or to register for Arthritis Foundation Aquatics programs, please visit www.arthritis.org/resources/community-programs/aquatics. If you are interested in participating in a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program in southeast Missouri, contact the Southeast Missouri Regional Arthritis Center, Heidi Dunn, toll-free at 1-888-216-3293. To find a CDSMP class elsewhere in the state, call toll-free at 1-888-702-8818 or visit www.moarthritis.org/classes.html . Murphy’s advice to individuals considering participating is to “be brave. Be courageous. Put yourself out there. It’s scary and those things control you, but they don’t define who you are. You define who you are.”
When Russell Otte, 65, of Edina, Missouri (Knox County) registered for his first physical activity course, he was fearful that he would not succeed with the program. Being the only man in his class didn’t help this fear. However, the instructor of his Walk With Ease class encouraged everyone to walk at their own pace, to realize it wasn’t a competition, and to encourage one another. As Otte says, “We cheered one another on.” When considering taking a self-management or physical activity course, many people have similar fears.
Otte pushed through his initial fears and continued taking the Walk With Ease course. He stated that “the class isn’t about keeping up with the crowd – it’s about keeping up with yourself.” He realized that others in the class had similar problems to his. Otte has arthritis, diabetes, Meniere’s disease, and suffered a stroke in 2009. The stroke in particular limited his mobility and range-of-motion on the right side of his body. In describing his improvements made through taking the Walk With Ease course, Otte said, “The first day I only walked 5 minutes, but by the end of 6 weeks, I was able to walk 45 minutes with more ease than the 5 minutes had been at the start. After the 45 minute walk, I felt energized and ready to meet the day, instead of exhausted and overwhelmed with pain.” Since Otte felt he had improved so much in this program, he chose to also enroll in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program.
The Walk With Ease Program is a group or individual format course. The group format is offered by a trained leader in six-week increments, meeting three times per week. This class, which was researched and designed by the Arthritis Foundation to be joint-friendly, includes warm-up, stretching, and cool-down exercises. It teaches participants to learn how to safely pace themselves and how to monitor their progress while building up to walking at least 30 minutes at a time. The individual format course is done independently, but follows the same structure as a group course.
The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP) is a group format course offered by trained leaders in six-week increments, meeting two to three times per week. Some sites choose to offer the program year round to participants with long-term health conditions (like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease) or individuals just looking for a regular exercise routine. This class, which was researched and designed to be joint-friendly, includes activities to improve range-of-motion, flexibility, balance, strength and to build endurance. All of the exercises can be modified to meet participants’ needs.
Through his participation in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, Otte was inspired to become trained as a leader, a move his doctor supports. “My doctor was really pleased. He sees that my life has improved, and tells me to keep on doing the activities.” Otte especially wants to encourage more men to participate in similar programs. He will be starting a new Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program course this fall in September at the Community Center in Edina.
To find out more information, please call the Northeast Regional Arthritis Center at 1-866-626-2878 x2049. You can also find out more information about other self-management and physical activity programs being offered in the Northeast Missouri region. If you are interested in participating in a Walk With Ease or an Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program course elsewhere in the state, you can find a class near you by calling toll-free at 1-888-702-8818 or by visiting www.moarthritis.org/classes.html.
Otte especially encourages you to “find a program and experience it”!
“You really don’t understand something until it is in your own backyard.” When the grandmother of Paula Moore, St. Louis City County, had a stroke, she thought she understood what her grandmother was going through. However, it wasn’t until three years later, when Moore had an ischemic stroke, that she felt she could actually understand where her grandmother was, what she was going through, and how she dealt with her stroke. Following Moore’s stroke, at the recommendation of her health care team, she began rehabilitation at SSM Health Care in St. Louis. While at SSM, the director of social services recommended to Moore that she should contact the Eastern Regional Arthritis Center (RAC) to enroll in the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP).
Moore enrolled in CDSMP in the fall of 2012. As she participated in the program, she realized she was in an environment where others were experiencing the same or similar things that she had been experiencing following her stroke. One of the things Moore learned through the CDSMP was that the leaders of the program were not trying to make anyone feel guilty – “we’re all in it together”. The physical, emotional, and cognitive aspects that were covered within the CDSMP helped Moore with her development and recovery overall. She ended the class feeling like she was more aware of resources she could reach out to when needed. Prior to taking the program, Moore didn’t like to think of herself; she would instead think of others. Now, as a completer of CDSMP, Moore feels a greater desire to be more aware of her own needs. As she says now, “I choose to think about me”.
Taking this self-management course has helped Moore to look at illnesses differently. Many of us can relate to Moore’s feelings that she didn’t want to become a burden or a hindrance to her family following her diagnosis. Having been put in the position of experiencing pain, emotional stress, and physical stress associated with health problems firsthand, Moore can now look at individuals who have health problems differently and understand what they’re going through without treating them as if they are a burden. Looking back to her relationship with her grandmother following her grandmother’s stroke, Moore felt that once a similar problem to her grandmother’s was “in her own backyard,” she could understand how her grandmother felt. “Unless you’re sitting in it, you don’t know the depth of it,” says Moore.
The CDSMP is a group format course that is offered by trained leaders in six-week increments, meeting once per week for 2.5 hours. Participants are either persons with a long-term health condition (like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke) or a caregiver for an individual with chronic health problems. This program which was researched and designed by Stanford University and is now an evidence-based intervention, discusses techniques to deal with health problems associated with chronic conditions; appropriate exercise; appropriate use of medications; communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals; nutrition and setting goals.
If you are interested in participating in a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program in eastern Missouri, or would like more information on the program, contact the Eastern Missouri Regional Arthritis Center coordinator, Duana Russell-Thomas, at 314-286-1625. To find a CDSMP class elsewhere in the state, call toll-free at 1-888-702-8818 or visit www.moarthritis.org/classes.html . Moore’s advice to individuals considering participating in a self-management program is to “try to get into a program if you can. You can give yourself something and feel a sense of community by participating.”
“It was time to take care of me.” These words, spoken by Sherri Hayes, 52, of Kansas City, Missouri - North, ring true for many participants of self-management programs. Hayes acted as a caregiver for her parents and in-laws who were aging and had chronic health conditions for a number of years. When she was no longer acting in that role, she realized that she needed to put herself first for a change. She reached out to her employer and asked if within their office they could host a program that her organization, the Arthritis Foundation Heartland Region, has long promoted to others. It all “kind of fell into place; it was just the time to do it,” said Hayes.
Hayes has participated in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program at the Arthritis Foundation Greater Kansas City office in Prairie Village, KS since 2011. The program is led by Kansas City Area Regional Arthritis Center coordinator, Orvie Prewitt. The same core group of 8 “regulars”, ranging from age 52 to 89 (turns 90 in September!), has continued attending this program over the past three years. The benefit to having an ongoing group of regulars is the camaraderie that has been formed. The participants all hold one another accountable and Hayes says that she misses them when she doesn’t get to see them when the class breaks for holidays.
Hayes' Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program group at a dinner in November 2012. Front Row (L-R): Paddy Lorenz, Connie Cooper, Mo Van Winkle, Evelyn, Taylor Jenkins (AF office), Peggy Rhoades. Back Row (L-R): Sherri Hayes, Instructor Orvie Prewitt, Betsy Rapine.
The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program is a group format course offered by trained leaders in six-week increments, meeting two to three times per week. Some sites, like the program Hayes participates in, choose to offer the program year round to participants with long-term health conditions (like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease) or individuals just looking for a regular exercise routine. This class, which was researched and designed to be joint-friendly, includes activities to improve range-of-motion, flexibility, balance, strength and to build endurance. All of the exercises can be modified to meet participants’ needs.
While Hayes does not personally identify any chronic health conditions impacting her life, she has noticed an improvement in her overall health. Hayes stated the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program has “helped keep me on track with my weight loss” over the past 3 years and she feels the class has contributed to a weight loss of nearly 80 pounds. She overall feels better with less pain in her knees and feet. Additionally, her health care provider has noted an improvement in her blood pressure readings.
Individuals who are obese and/or physically inactive are at increased risk for arthritis. According to the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 38.8% of Missouri adults who were identified as obese also had arthritis. Over half of all Missouri adults with arthritis had been told by their doctor to exercise for their arthritis (BRFSS, 2011).
Hayes said new faces are welcome for the class at the Arthritis Foundation Office at 1900 West 75th Street, Suite 200, Prairie Village, Kansas 66208. To find out more information or to register, please call Sherri Hayes at 913-262-2233. To find out more information about other self-management programs offered in the Kansas City area, contact KC Area Regional Arthritis Center coordinator Orvie Prewitt at 816-932-2351. If you are interested in participating in an Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program elsewhere in the state, you can find a class near you by calling toll-free at 1-888-702-8818 or visiting www.moarthritis.org/classes.html . As Hayes says, “If you’re thinking about doing it, just do it. Put yourself first for a change!”
The start of May kicked off National Arthritis Awareness Month, also known as Arthritis Action Month! With arthritis being the number one cause of disability in the United States, it's important to raise awareness of what arthritis is and how it affects us, our family members and our friends. Many organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arthritis Foundation (AF), are encouraging the nation to take action to help manage arthritis and reduce it's negative effects.
The CDC encourages walking to ease joint pain. As identified in their May 3 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), State-Specific Prevalence of Walking Among Adults With Arthritis - United States, 2011, adults with arthritis nationally can improve upon the number of minutes spent walking each week. To learn more about this MMWR and walking in Missouri, view the Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program's (MAOP) Press Release on Arthritis Action Month, released May 7. You can also read the CDC's feature on Arthritis Awareness Month.
The AF encourages individuals to explore the Faces of Arthritis gallery. This interactive website allows us to learn more about the facts of arthritis, to put a face and name with the disease, and to use tools to help/to act now! The Faces of Arthritis gallery also allows individuals to submit their own picture and story and to really become the "face of arthritis".
Closer to home, the AF Heartland Region office is offering webinars throughout the month of May featuring topics about arthritis. Registration and log-on information is available for each webinar. Contact Jazzmin at email@example.com with questions.
The National AgrAbility Project is also offering a webinar on Wednesday, May 29 at 1:00 pm CDT. It is called Gardening with Effective Arthritis Management. To participate in this free webinar, register here by Friday, May 24. You can contact AgrAbility at 1-800-825-4264 or email if you have questions.
Self-management and physical activity classes are available throughout the state of Missouri. These classes can be a great first action toward improving your health.
For more information, contact your local Regional Arthritis Center (RAC). Throughout the month of May, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, success stories from around the state will be highlighted on the MAOP website (www.moarthritis.org). These stories, which come from a variety of participants and leaders, help to showcase the different classes offered throughout the state. We hope that one or more of these stories will encourage you to take action to be our next success story!