Education

7 Health & Wellness Self Management Programs for People with Disabilities

Through a self-management education (SME) program, you can do the things you want to do and live a healthier life.

5/13/2019

Are you are one of the millions of adults in the United States who lives with a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If you have a disability, you can learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Through a self-management education (SME) program you can do the things you want to do and live a healthier life.

Here are SME programs for people with disabilities:

14 Weeks to a Healthier You

Cost: Free. | Format: Online.

14 Weeks to a Healthier You is a free, online wellness program for anyone with a chronic health condition, physical disability, or mobility limitations. It can help you eat healthier and maintain a more active lifestyle. All goals, warm-up activities, exercises, and motivational resources are used at your own pace.

The program includes:

  • Personalized exercises and physical activity tips.
  • Healthy eating.
  • Tracking physical activity and diet.
  • Opportunities to connect with other participants.
  • Access to 14-week coaches.

Visit the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability website to learn more about 14 Weeks to a Healthier You.

Promoting Amputee Life Skills (PALS)

Cost: Free. | Format: Online.

Promoting Amputee Life Skills (PALS) is a 6-week interactive online program that helps amputees improve the quality of their lives. The PALS program helps you learn ways to manage pain, emotions, relationships, and overall health. It provides an opportunity to build these skills in a group setting to help you discover individual strengths.

Subjects include:

  • Learning self-management skills.
  • Managing your health and physical activity.
  • Managing emotions.
  • Communicating effectively with family and friends and maintaining relationships in difficult situations.
  • Identifying the warning signs of setbacks and learning skills to help you to overcome some of these barriers.

Visit the PALS website to learn more about  Promoting Amputee Life Skills (PALS).

Living Well with A Disability

Cost: Varies by organization. | Format: In person, in the community.

Living Well with a Disability is a 10-week interactive program for people with physical disabilities. The program is based on the best available scientific information and is designed to help participants learn the life skills necessary to set and achieve quality-of-life goals. Programs consist of peer-led health promotion workshops provided by organizations that serve people with disabilities. The Rural Institute at the University of Montana provides training and certification for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and other organizations to conduct the workshops.

Subjects include:

  • Goal setting.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Maintaining a positive outlook.
  • Managing depression.
  • Physical activity.
  • Eating well to live well.
  • Healthy communication.
  • Information seeking and advocacy.
  • Maintaining positive changes.

Visit the Living Well website to learn more about Living Well with a Disability.

Healthy Lifestyles

Cost: Varies by organization. | Format: In person, in the community.

Healthy Lifestyles is a 15-hour course that can be delivered over three days, or integrated into other programming and activities over the course of several weeks or months. The program is evidenced-based, designed by and for people with intellectual disabilities. The workshop embodies the self-determination model and provides participants with the opportunity to achieve social, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness.

Subjects include:

  • Defining a healthy lifestyle
  • Evaluating current life situations
  • Identifying core values for health and wellness
  • Selecting life areas for change
  • Gaining the tools to set goals and achieve them

Visit the Healthy Lifestyle website to learn more about the Healthy Lifestyles program.

General Chronic Disease SME Programs

In addition to the disability-related programs above, the SME programs below are for people with any chronic health condition, including people with disabilities. Programs should be offered in spaces that allow for physical accessibility and make accommodations for communication needs. For more information about disability inclusion visit CDC’s Disability and Health Program.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program

Cost: The cost varies by organization, but rarely is more than $50. | Format: This course is offered as an in-person workshop.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is an interactive workshop for people with all types of chronic conditions. Stanford University developed this course to help people with one or more chronic conditions learn the strategies to manage their condition and have the confidence to carry them out.

This interactive workshop meets for 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks in convenient community locations. The instructors are trained leaders, at least one of whom has a chronic condition. This workshop is known by a variety of different names, including Living Well.

The program is also available in Spanish.

Subjects covered include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation.
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Appropriate use of medications.
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals.
  • Managing depression.
  • Better breathing techniques.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Healthy eating habits.
  • Making good decisions about your health.
  • How to evaluate new treatments.

Visit the Self-Management Resource Center website to learn more about the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.

Locate organizations licensed to offer the program in your area on the Evidence-Based Leadership Council website.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: Tool Kit for Active Living

Cost: $43.96. | Format: Self-study toolkit.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Tool Kit for Active Living provides much of the same information as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) in a self-study format that you can receive by mail.

The tool kit helps you construct your own self-management plan to deal with your chronic condition(s) through exercise, and strategies to reduce stress, fatigue, pain and other symptoms. It encourages goal setting, action planning, and thinking and acting proactively. You can work through the toolkit at your own pace, focusing on areas most important to you.

The program is also available in Spanish.

The self-study kit includes:

  • The workbook Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions.
  • Information Sheets briefly describing common problems and helpful solutions.
  • A self-test that helps you identify elements and set priorities for a personal self-management plan.
  • Action Plan description with instruction and examples for developing unique plan.
  • Exercise Action Plan with hints and instruction on use of the other exercise and activity materials, Relaxation CD and Exercise CD.

Visit the Self-Management Resource Center website to learn more about the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: Tool Kit for Active Living.

Tomando Control de su Salud

Cost: The cost varies by organization, but rarely is more than $50. | Format: This course is offered as an in-person workshop.

This course, developed by Stanford University, is an interactive workshop for Spanish speaking adults with all types of chronic conditions. If you have one or more chronic condition, this program can help you learn the strategies and skills to manage your health and your condition(s) more effectively and live your everyday life.

All the workshop sessions are held in Spanish. It is very similar to the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), but was developed to be culturally appropriate for Spanish speaking adults. Workshop sessions last for 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks at convenient community locations.

Topics include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation.
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Managing depression.
  • Appropriate use of medications.
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals.
  • Healthy eating habits.
  • Better breathing techniques.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Appropriate use of the health care system.
  • Making good decisions about your health.
  • How to evaluate new treatments.

Visit the Self-Management Resource Center website to learn more about Tomando Control de su Salud.

Locate organizations licensed to offer the program in your area on the Evidence-Based Leadership Council website.

This content is provided courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

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