Free course a help to those with chronic illness

Life with a chronic condition can be a trial, and a course offering assistance will start Monday, Oct. 31.

Judy Jenkins

Special to the Tribune

Life with a chronic condition can be a trial, and a course offering assistance will start Monday, Oct. 31.

Mary Trott, a retired physician from Cariboo Memorial Hospital, and Maureen Tickner, an RN with many years of experience working with seniors, are the leaders of this free course presented by Elder College.

The interactive course is structured around strategies for coping with difficult issues and chronic conditions that may afflict anyone who is aging.

Each session will provide opportunities for questions and answers and discussions. A free book is included with the program, which is sponsored by the University of Victoria Centre on Aging.

Classes will be from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Nov. 7, 16, 21, 28 and Dec. 5, all Mondays except for Wednesday, Nov. 16. All classes will be open to anyone of any age, not just seniors, and will be in the Williams Lake Library Meeting Room.  Pre-registration is not required.

Both course leaders have years of experience in health matters. Trott has been an active member of Elder College for the last four years, as a presenter and co-ordinator of courses as well as a member of the curriculum committee. Tickner is a former RN administrator who has worked with seniors for 28 years, including 17 at Cariboo Lodge. She is a member of the Health Advisory Committee, liaison to the Seniors’ Advisory Council and is a volunteer seniors’ counsellor.

“One day after I retired I spotted an ad in the paper about a leadership program designed to help empower people with chronic diseases to take better care of themselves, so that they would not be  in the doctor’s office as often,” Trott said.

“It sounded interesting, and soon I found myself back in the classroom with Maureen Tickner and two others.

“Dr. Patrick McGowan from the University of Victoria Centre on Aging came up and conducted the four-day leadership course himself.

“It’s really very simple, and after doing the workshop, anyone could lead it,” McGowan says.

“You don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse. All you need is the training and to do one course within six months of being trained, while it is fresh in your mind.

“It’s all sensible advice and the program is interactive, so everyone participates, sharing stories and ideas.

“Some role playing and humour is involved, but it’s seriously important to learn some coping skills, no matter what one’s condition is, in order stop it from controlling you and to take control instead. It’s very gratifying to see this happen in our workshops.”

Trott and Tickner have done one workshop a year for the past four years in the  fall.

“That’s all the two of them can manage, and one a year does not meet the need for this kind of learning,” Trott said.

“We would encourage any  interested member of the public to sign up for the leadership training.

There are many people here who could benefit from this program, and to have a second team of two doing one in the spring as well would be ideal.”

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