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Maine Politics

More Maine Seniors to Get Help Dealing with Chronic Illness
By Ed Gilman
Mar 31, 2010 - 12:20:53 AM

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Michaud and Pingree announce that a federal grant will allow the state to offer program to more seniors

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said that a federal grant will allow the state to help more Maine seniors deal with their chronic illnesses. Funded by the Recovery Act, the $200,000 grant to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services was announced by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius earlier today.

"This program is critical for Maine seniors who want to live the best life possible despite chronic illness," said Michaud and Pingree. "One of the most important things to seniors is the ability to keep their independence and stay in their own homes. This helps them do that by giving them tools to make intelligent decisions on their medical care, health, and getting what they need from their families and community."

With the funding, the state will be able to expand access to a chronic disease self-management program it administers - serving an additional 250 older Mainers. The program, called Living Well, is a six-week workshop taught by volunteers with chronic illness. The grant funding will allow the state to train more volunteer leaders and increase its offerings.

The workshop offers tools to help seniors maintain or improve their health. It covers techniques for dealing with problems such as fatigue and pain; exercises for improving strength and endurance; information on medications and nutrition; communicating with friends, family, and health professionals; and evaluating new treatments.

There is strong evidence that the workshop has a beneficial effect on physical and emotional outcomes and health-related quality of life. Participants report improved health and energy, lower stress, more social independence, and better relationships with their doctors.

The Recovery Act was passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2009.

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