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Stephanie Stewart
Aging Programs Specialist

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Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

The AAA assists in the coordination, development and administration of health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.  The purpose of this service is to support older adults in maintaining optimal physical, mental and emotional health.

Physical activity is one of the least expensive and most effective approaches to preventing and treating common chronic health conditions.  Land of Sky Regional Council’s Area Agency on Aging promotes the following physical activity resources:

Senior Centers – Senior Centers provide numerous health education programs and recreation activities.  Contact your local senior center for program details.  Visit the Senior Center page for more information and a listing of local senior centers.

Senior Games – Senior Games promote healthy living for older adults through wellness programs, games clinics, fun fitness activities and opportunities for state and national competition.  Senior Games are offered through the County Parks and Recreation Departments.  For more information visit www.ncseniorgames.org.

Active Aging Week – Active Aging Week takes place during the last week of September and is designed to promote local options for physical activity.  There are a variety of free activities during this week.  For information on the international initiative visit www.icaa.cc/aaw.htm.  Contact the AAA for county-specific calendars.

Evidence Based Health Promotion Programs – Evidence based health promotion (EBHP) programs are rooted in tested models and designed to meet health needs through community and environmental partnerships.  The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services have an increasing focus on the implementation of EBHP.  Evidence Based programs are researched for content and studied for their effectiveness.  For an approved list of evidence based programs visit: Administration on Aging Evidence Based Health Promotion Programs

Evidence Based Programs available in our region include:

Living Healthy with a Chronic Condition or Diabetes – Also known as the Chronic Disease 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 health problems attend together and people with chronic conditions facilitate the workshops. Visit the Living Healthy page for more information and a listing of the upcoming Living Healthy workshops. This program is also available for the Spanish Speaking population as "Tomando Control de su Salud" and for those with HIV / AIDS as the "Positive Self Management Program.

Matter of Balance: A Fear of Falling Program - The program's goal is to reduce fear of falling, stop the fear of falling cycle, and increase activity levels among community-dwelling older adults. This 8-session program addresses the fear of falling with practical coping strategies such as: promoting a view of falls and fear of falling as controllable, setting realistic goals around increasing activity, changing the environment to reduce risk factors and promoting exercise to increase strength and balance.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers - The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program and its companion book, The Caregiver Helpbook, are designed to provide caregivers the tools to reduce personal stress; practice self-care; reduce guilt, anger, and depression; communicate effectively with family members, doctors, and paid help; utilize community resources; make tough decisions; set goals and problem solve. Research has shown that Powerful Tools for Caregivers increases caregiver confidence and builds skills to help them thrive as individuals. Six-week classes for caregivers are conducted by trained PTC Class Leaders. Contact Carol McLimans, Family Caregiver Specialist.

Laughter Yoga - Laughter Yoga is an exercise routine with benefits that include good mood and more laughter; healthy exercise to beat stress; health benefits; quality of life; and positive attitude in challenging times.

WNC Fall Prevention – The WNC Fall Prevention Coalition is committed to reducing the number of falls and fall-related injuries in Western North Carolina.  The Coalition is comprised of representatives from over 30 regional organizations.  Together, they address the need for coordinated and multifactorial fall prevention strategies in WNC through community awareness, provider education and a balance and screening referral process.

For details on the health promotion information listed here or other health promotion programs in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties contact Stephanie Stewart at stephanie@landofsky.org or 828-251-6622 ext 117.