Living with a chronic illness can be challenging. Symptoms of your condition can make daily tasks and activities daunting. If you have been feeling less than your best, Get Better Together can help!
Get Better Together is a program designed to help you navigate the ups and downs of living with a chronic condition. The program was developed by the Patient Education Research Centre at Stanford University. Over six weekly sessions, you will create a self-management toolbox full of strategies to manage the difficulties of your condition. The program has been offered at many locations within the Prairie Mountain Health region.
The program explores habits that influence your overall health. In speaking with one of the Get Better Together Community Leaders, she was willing to shared her perspective on the program, saying, “You review all the things that are good for you in life, like eating better, sleeping better, seeking medical assistance if you need it, and learning that you can still do things with your condition.” Feeling fatigued and experiencing pain are just a couple of the common symptoms people with a health condition live with on a daily basis. In this program, participants learn various coping strategies, try the strategies out as a group, and discover which ones work best for them. The program leader also emphasized that the content is not complicated, saying, “There’s nothing extraordinary about it. It’s all good common sense approaches that anybody can follow.”
At the core of the program are action plans. When there is a lot on our to-do list, it can be overwhelming. Participants learn how to break down tasks into manageable steps and prioritize. Each week, they create an action plan that is achievable and action-specific. “We try to keep it very simple,” the program leader explained, “It has to be something that you want to do, not something that society or your family says you have to do.” Over time, as participants complete their action plans, they gain confidence to achieve even more of their goals. “That’s what I like about this program,” the program leader explained, “it builds confidence to get through the day and make it better and more productive.” Participants also practice decision-making and problem-solving.
An essential aspect of the program is peer support. Group discussions are used to learn from others and hear different perspectives. When asked how this leader got involved with the program, she responded that she initially joined Get Better Together as a participant stating that, “Eight of us (from the group) continued to meet frequently for about a year afterwards to offer each other support.” She explained, “You’re sharing with people who understand and there is an opportunity for long-term support from peers.” Group members can learn from and support each other. Many find comfort in knowing they are not alone in their struggles and leave each class feeling a bit better. “Sometimes you need a boost, and that’s what the Get Better Together program does.”
Over the past year, the Get Better Together program has been run virtual using the zoom platform, allowing people to connect despite being apart. “Some people have been severely isolated through Covid,” explained the program leader, “The program continues to run through these times and that is huge.” She explained that while the virtual format has its differences from meeting in-person, it still allows people from all over the province to connect. This created more privacy for those who prefer sharing with peers they don’t know. The program leader looks forward to returning to in-person sessions once it is safe to do so.
Get Better Together is suitable for adults living with a range of health conditions, including diabetes, depression, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, and many others. The program is free, and no referral is required. As the program leader explained, “No matter your emotional state, physical state, or monetary state, you are welcome.” For more information about Get Better Together, visit The Wellness Institute or contact a program coordinator at 1-877-509-7852. If you are interested in signing up, call Toll-Free: 1-877-509-7852 for sessions offered across Prairie Mountain Health.