An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville | Statement of Compassion & Inclusion

Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives

What Is It?

The Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) is an individualized evidence-based program, delivered in nine sessions over a five month period by a trained PEARLS coach in-person, virtually via ZOOM, or by telephone.*  It is designed to reduce depressive symptoms and social isolation in adults 60 years of age and over.

Sessions are highly participative, where support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to improve their emotional health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.

*Virtual or telephone format sessions are offered to participants whose residence is outside the greater Charlotte region.

Who should enroll in the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives?

The PEARLS program helps people with depressive symptoms to gain self-confidence in their ability to recognize their symptoms and learn how to solve problems affecting their lives.  In addition, PEARLS focuses on increasing physical activity and social connections which often improves the mood of participants with depression.  Please note that PEARLS will not conflict with behavioral health programs or treatment since it is designed to complement clinical services.

PEARLS has been shown to improve quality of life for individuals having difficulty in coping with life changes such as living with a chronic illness, loss of a loved one, social isolation, etc. Get connected to PEARLS if you or someone you know is experiencing little interest or pleasure doing things, feeling down, sad or hopeless, lasting more than 2 weeks.

What are the components of the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives?

Trained PEARLS Coaches support individuals one-on-one to build confidence and skills to:

  • Better recognize the symptoms of depression
  • Utilize a seven-step approach to identify and solve problems
  • Plan social, physical, and enjoyable activities

Watch this video featuring a PEARLS Participant to learn more about the program:

 

Would you or someone you know benefit from PEARLS offered through Healthy Aging NC? Our referral form makes it easy to make the referral for yourself, a friend, a relative, or for a patient, if you are a health professional.

Make a Referral

Powerful Tools for Caregivers

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an educational program designed to help family caregivers take care of themselves while caring for someone else. You will benefit from this series whether you are helping a parent, spouse, friend, someone who lives independently in the community, and/or someone who resides in long-term care facility. This series typically meets one time per week for six weeks. Weekly sessions meet for 1.5 hours. There is no cost to participate.

Six class sessions held once a week are led by experienced class leaders. Class participants are given The Caregiver Helpbook to accompany the class and provide additional caregiver resources. In the six weekly classes, caregivers learn self-care tools to:

Reduce Stress: Increased Exercise, Relaxation, and Medical Check-Ups

Emotion Management: Reduced Guilt, Anger, and Depression

Self Confidence: Increased Confidence in Coping With Caregiving Demands

Community Resources: Increased Use of Local Services

More classes are planned for 2022.  Check back soon.

Register for a Workshop

Health Coaching

Health Coaching Protocol Description 

Vision:

Our vision with Healthy Aging NC’s Health Coaching protocol is to help individuals achieve their health goals and live a fulfilled life in alignment with their values. Additionally, we strive to be leaders in transforming the delivery of Health Coaching services in NC by collaborating with statewide partners to promote and sustain access to this valuable service.

Mission: 

Healthy Aging NC’s Health Coaching protocol teaches individuals vital skills that promote goal mapping, enhance knowledge of health and chronic conditions, and improve their overall health and wellbeing. We aim to develop a statewide Health Coaching protocol that equips the 16 regions served by Area Agencies on Aging with the Health Coaching services they need to support participants in entering into evidence-based community health programs. We do this through building capacity and providing technical assistance to Health Coaches across the state.

What Is A Health Coach?

A Health Coach partners with clients seeking to enhance their well-being through self-directed, lasting changes, aligned with their values. A health coach partners with their client to help set and achieve self-identified health goals.

Key Benefits of Health Coaching 

  • Decrease Healthcare Costs
  • Increase Productivity
  • Foster Healthy Behavior Change

Who is an ideal participant for Health Coaching? 

An ideal Health Coaching participant is someone who would benefit from any of the evidence-based community health programs supported by Healthy Aging NC but can’t or won’t participate for any reason. This one-on-one service can serve as an interim support for such participants to help them address any barriers they’re experiencing in participating in a program and achieving optimal health.

 

Click here to learn about becoming a Health Coach

Click here to refer yourself or someone else to Health Coaching

 

For More Information Please Contact:

Amyia Hardy, MPH, CHES, CHC
Health Coach and Outreach Specialist
E-mail: Ahardy2@unca.edu

Social Connectedness

Social Bridging NC is a partnership between the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services and the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness. At Social Bridging NC, we are committed to promoting social connectedness and to helping you if you are feeling lonely or want more social connection.

Social Bridging NC

Visit our Social Bridging NC website to:

What is Social Isolation?

According to the AARP Foundation more than 8 million adults aged 50 and older are affected by isolation. Social isolation is a lack of relationships with others and little or no social support or contact. Recent research has shown that a lack of social connectedness can impact your health in many ways and the health risks associated with prolonged isolation are the same as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Becoming more socially engaged can decrease your risk of:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Depression, anxiety and suicide
  • Hospitalization and Emergency Department visits

How are Social Isolation and Loneliness Related?

  • Loneliness is the feeling of being alone and can happen regardless of the amount of social contact you have.
  • Social isolation can lead to loneliness in some people, while others can feel lonely without being socially isolated.

Find a Senior Center 

Staying connected and engaged in activities is important to the physical and mental well-being of everyone. Check out the Find a Senior Center Map to find a Senior Center in your area. One way for older adults to do this is through one of NC’s multipurpose senior centers. Senior centers have long been a great community resource that provide services, information and education on additional aging resources, as well as offering a variety of health, fitness, and creative art activity classes. Click here to Find a Senior Center near you!

Connect with Us Today!

Visit the Social Bridging NC website or send us an email at socialbridge@unca.edu.

Contact Us

Walk With Ease

What Is It?

The Walk With Ease group walking program encourages people with arthritis to start walking and stay motivated to keep active. Educational materials and tools supplement the group programs, and are used for the self-directed version of the program.

Online support is also available and includes video instruction, a message board, and an automated e-mail service alerting participants when milestones are reached.

Who should attend Walk With Ease Programs?

The Walk With Ease program is designed for people with arthritis who want to increase their physical activity levels and are able to be on their feet for at least 10 minutes without increased pain. The program may also be appropriate for people with other chronic health conditions — such as diabetes and heart disease—who want to be more active.

The research for the program found that both the group and self-directed versions of WWE can:

  • Reduce arthritis symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and fatigue
  • Improve strength, balance, and walking pace
  • Reduce disability
  • Increase confidence in the ability to manage arthritis

What are the components of Walk With Ease Programs?

Walk With Ease sessions are designed to help people reduce pain and discomfort of arthritis, increase balance and strength, build confidence in the ability to be physically active and improve overall health among older adults. During the 6-week program, participants meet three times a week in groups of up to 15. Each program begins with a health education session on an arthritis- or exercise-related topic, followed by stretching activities and a 10–35 minute walk.

Program discussion and supplemental materials cover topics such as:

  • Managing arthritis pain and stiffness
  • Stretching and strengthening activities to support the walking program
  • Self-monitoring for physical problems while walking
  • Anticipating and overcoming barriers to being physically active
  • Getting and staying motivated to exercise

Watch the Walk with Ease Program Zero Video

Register for This Workshop

 

Programa de Manejo Personal de la Diabetes

What Is It?

This program is for Spanish-speaking people with diabetes. Workshops are facilitated by two trained certified and active program providers, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with a chronic disease themselves. All workshops are given in Spanish without translators.

Who should attend Chronic Disease Self Management Education Programs?

The Living Healthy with Diabetes Self-Management workshops are designed to help people with Type 2 Diabetes to gain self-confidence in their ability to control their symptoms and learn how their health problems affect their lives. The Diabetes Self-Management Program will not conflict with existing programs or treatment as it is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education.

What are the components of Chronic Disease Self Management Education Programs?

Small-group, highly interactive workshops last for six weeks, meeting once a week for 2 ½ hours, and are facilitated by a pair of program providers, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with Diabetes themselves.

Subjects covered include:

  1. Techniques to deal with the symptoms of diabetes, fatigue, pain, hyper/hypoglycemia, stress, and emotional problems such as depression, anger, fear and frustration
  2. Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength and endurance
  3. Healthy eating
  4. Appropriate use of medication
  5. Working more effectively with health care providers.

Participants will make weekly action plans, share experiences, and help each other solve problems they encounter in creating and carrying out their self-management program. Physicians, diabetes educators, dietitians, and other health professionals both at Stanford and in the community have reviewed all materials in the workshop.

Register for this Workshop

 

Tomando Control de su Salud

What Is It?

This is the Spanish version of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program that was designed in Spanish for Spanish- speakers. Though similar to the English version, it was developed to be culturally appropriate. Spanish-speaking people with different chronic health problems attend this program. Workshops are facilitated by two trained certified and active program providers, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with a chronic disease themselves. All workshops are given in Spanish without translators.

Este es la versión en español del programa de autocuidado de enfermedades crónicas creada para hispanohablantes. Aunque similar a la versión en inglés, este programa fue desarrollado para ser culturalmente apropiado. Hispanohablantes que tienen enfermedades crónicas de salud asisten a este programa. Los talleres están facilitados por dos líderes cualificados, certificados y activos. Uno de ellos o los dos son promotores de salud, no son especialistas que trabajan en el campo de la salud, y así como los participantes ellos también tienen enfermedades crónicas. Todos los talleres se presentan en español sin la necesidad de traductores.

Who should attend Chronic Disease Self Management Education Programs?

The Living Healthy with Chronic Disease Self-Management Education workshops are designed to help people with chronic disease to gain self-confidence in their ability to control their symptoms and learn how their health problems affect their lives. Examples of chronic health problems include heart disease, lung disease, stroke, arthritis, and diabetes. People with different chronic health problems attend this program together; many people have more than one chronic condition. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program will not conflict with existing programs or treatment as it is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education.

What are the components of Chronic Disease Self Management Education Programs?

Small-group, highly interactive workshops last for six weeks, meeting once a week for 2 ½ hours, and are facilitated by a pair of program providers, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic diseases themselves.

The workshop topics include the following:

  • How to deal with frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation
  • Ways to maintain and improve strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Managing medications
  • How to communicate more effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • Decision-making
Register for this Workshop

 

Living Healthy with Diabetes Self Management

What Is It?

The Living Healthy with Diabetes Self-Management Education Program is a workshop given two and a half hours, once a week, for six weeks, in community settings such as senior centers, churches, libraries and hospitals.

People with Type 2 Diabetes attend the workshops, facilitated by two trained program providers, one or both of whom are peer program providers with diabetes themselves. Programs are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.

Who should attend Living Health with Diabetes Self Management Education Programs?

The Living Healthy with Diabetes Self-Management workshops are designed to help people with Type 2 Diabetes to gain self-confidence in their ability to control their symptoms and learn how their health problems affect their lives. The Diabetes Self-Management Program will not conflict with existing programs or treatment as it is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education.

What are the components of Living Health with Diabetes Self Management Education Programs?

Small-group, highly interactive workshops last for six weeks, meeting once a week for 2 ½ hours, and are facilitated by a pair of program providers, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with Diabetes themselves.

Subjects covered include:

  1. Techniques to deal with the symptoms of diabetes, fatigue, pain, hyper/hypoglycemia, stress, and emotional problems such as depression, anger, fear and frustration
  2. Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength and endurance
  3. Healthy eating and nutrition
  4. Appropriate use of medication
  5. Working more effectively with health care providers.

Participants will make weekly action plans, share experiences, and help each other solve problems they encounter in creating and carrying out their self-management program. Physicians, diabetes educators, dietitians, and other health professionals both at Stanford and in the community have reviewed all materials in the workshop.

Register for this Workshop

 

Living Healthy with Chronic Pain Management

What Is It?

The Living Healthy with Chronic Pain Self-Management Program is a workshop given two and a half hours, once a week, for six weeks, in community settings such as senior centers, churches, libraries and hospitals. People with different chronic pain health problems attend together and the workshops are facilitated by two trained program providers, one or both of whom are peers with chronic pain themselves. Programs are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.

Who should attend Living Health with Chronic Pain Self Management Education Programs?

The Living Healthy with Chronic Pain Self Management Program was developed for people who have a primary or secondary diagnosis of chronic pain. Pain is defined as being chronic or long term when it lasts for longer than 3 to 6 months, or beyond the normal healing time of an injury.

Examples of chronic pain conditions are:

  • Chronic musculo-skeletal pain (such as neck, shoulder, back pain, etc.)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Chronic regional pain syndromes
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Post-surgical pain that lasts beyond 6 months
  • Neuropathic pain (often caused by trauma)
  • Neuralgias (such as post-herpetic pain, and trigeminal neuralgia)
  • Post stroke or central pain

The Chronic Pain Self Management Programs may also benefit those who have conditions such as persistent headache, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, or those who experience severe muscular pain due to conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Workshops are facilitated by two trained program providers, one or both of whom are peers with chronic pain themselves.

People with different chronic health problems attend this program together; many people have more than one chronic condition. The Chronic Pain Self-Management Program will not conflict with existing programs or treatment as it is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education.

What are the components of Living Health with Chronic Pain Self Management Education Programs?

Small-group, highly interactive workshops last for six weeks, meeting once a week for 2 ½ hours, and are facilitated by a pair of program providers, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic pain themselves.

Subjects covered include:

  1. Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, isolation, and poor sleep
  2. Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
  3. Appropriate use of medications
  4. Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  5. Nutrition
  6. Pacing activity and rest
  7. How to evaluate new treatments
Register for this Workshop

 

Living Healthy with Chronic Disease Management

What Is It?

Every day, millions of people with chronic conditions struggle to manage their symptoms. About 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 68% have at least two. Chronic conditions place a significant burden on individuals as well as health care systems.

People with different chronic health problems attend this program together; examples of chronic health problems include heart disease, lung disease, stroke, arthritis, and diabetes. Workshops are facilitated by two trained program providers, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic diseases themselves.

Who should attend Chronic Disease Self Management Education Programs?

The Living Healthy with Chronic Disease Self-Management Education workshops are designed to help people with chronic disease and their caregivers to gain self-confidence in their ability to control their symptoms and learn how their health problems affect their lives. In addition, many people have more than one chronic condition. The program is especially helpful for these people, as it gives them the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives.

What are the components of Living Healthy With Chronic Disease Self Management Education Programs?

CDSMP workshops are designed to help people gain self-confidence in their ability to control their symptoms and learn how their health problems affect their lives. Small-group, highly interactive workshops are six weeks long, meeting once a week for 2 ½ hours, and are facilitated by a pair of program providers, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic diseases themselves.

The workshop topics include the following:

  • How to deal with frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation
  • Ways to maintain and improve strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Managing medications
  • How to communicate more effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • Decision-making
Register for this Workshop