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Live a Comfortable Life Despite an Ongoing Health Problem

Learn health care self-management skills to take better care of yourself

By National Council on Aging

Do you have an ongoing health problem, like diabetes, heart disease, stroke or arthritis?

If so, you're not alone. More than 90 percent of adults age 55 or older have at least one chronic condition, and 73 percent have at least two.

Living with a chronic health condition can be overwhelming. Pain, fatigue and the stress of managing multiple medications and trips to the doctor can make day-to-day life a real struggle. Often, it can lead to anxiety and depression.

"Every day was a fight to make sense of my existence," says Laura of Newport, Ore., who has lived with asthma and diabetes for 25 years. "I was overwhelmed by things that used to be routine — laundry, cleaning the apartment and shopping for groceries. I felt like I had lost my ability to contribute to society in a tangible way."

See How You Can Restart Living

The good news is that Laura, and thousands of others like her, found a path back to a healthier life through a six-week workshop developed and tested by Stanford University.

The workshop teaches self-management — or the skills and knowledge you need to take better care of yourself. It's available in hundreds of communities at spots like senior centers, libraries and churches. And it's available online.


Volunteer leaders, many of whom also have health problems, guide the workshops and provide support. Participants meet regularly and help one another learn how to:

  • Deal with frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation
  • Maintain and improve strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Eat well, exercise, and manage medications
  • Communicate more effectively with family, friends, and health professionals.

Get Started

How do you know if this workshop is right for you? A new website from the National Council on Aging can help. It's called RestartLiving, and it's completely free and confidential.

National Council on Aging
By National Council on Aging
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