People suffering from chronic disease can participate in new workshop series

Published on Tuesday, 19 March 2019 19:54
Written by Erica Drzewiecki


NEWINGTON – Local residents living with chronic disease are being presented a unique opportunity to improve their wellbeing.

The Central Connecticut Health District is looking for people to take part in a new “Live Well” workshop series. It begins Wednesday, April 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. inside the Newington Senior & Disabled Center, 120 Cedar St. The program continues subsequent Wednesdays for the next six weeks in the same location. It is free and open to residents of Newington, Berlin, Wethersfield and Rocky Hill, the towns served by the CCHD.

Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Dept. of Rehabilitation Services, the State Dept. of Health and the North Central Area on Aging, Live Well is a nationwide, evidence-based, self-management program.

CCHD Assistant Director Ann Hartman and Health Educator Luis Pantoja are certified to teach the course, which was developed at Stanford University.

Chronic disease is classified as any illness that lasts one or more years, requires ongoing medical attention and limits the activities of daily living. According to the CDC, six in ten adults in the U.S. suffer from a chronic disease and four in ten suffer from two or more. Among the most common types are high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer, kidney, heart or lung disease, anxiety/depression, obesity and lupus.

Workshop participants will learn the tools to effectively manage their conditions using good nutrition, exercise and communication, along with emotional and symptom management. The course is also open to the loved ones of those suffering from an illness.

The CCHD tried to start a similar “Live Well” program for sufferers of diabetes in the past, but did not garner enough interest.

“We had to cancel the diabetes course because we had less than eight people sign up,” Pantoja said. “We need at least eight to ten for this, but we’re hoping for as many people as possible.”

Participants will create personal action plans tailored to their needs.

“We’re going to give them the tools to navigate through whatever disease they come in with so they can have a better outlook on life,” Pantoja explained.

That might include managing fatigue, stress and pain, adjusting one’s daily diet or learning how to communicate effectively with health providers.

“Sometimes it’s easy to say yes to a lot of things at the doctor’s office, and then you get home and you don’t know what any of these new medications are for,” Pantoja pointed out. “We’re going to work with people to better their communication skills when it comes to their health needs.”

Workshops will be facilitated in a group setting so students can gain support from each other. Textbooks will be provided free with the option to purchase. To reserve a spot in the program, contact the CCHD at 860-665-8778.

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, Newington on Tuesday, 19 March 2019 19:54. Updated: Tuesday, 19 March 2019 19:56.