Help those suffering with arthritis |

Help those suffering with arthritis

Provided to the Tribune

Living with arthritis can be very painful. The El Dorado County Public Health Department’s Preventive Health Care for the Aging Program is looking for healthcare professionals, and individuals who may be suffering with arthritis, to volunteer to become trained as trainers in the “Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Program.”

A two-day train-the-trainer course will be offered in Placerville on Saturday and Sunday. The training is free and no prior training experience is required. All materials will be provided.

According to Sandy Stokes, a public health nurse who routinely conducts free wellness screenings for El Dorado County residents 55 and older, arthritis is one of the most common, yet neglected, health problems of older people.

“Over half of the 500 people we screened last year were suffering from some form of arthritis,” said Stokes. “The pain can be chronic and affect all areas of a person’s life. Sometimes the pain can lead to sleepless nights and other health problems, such as depression.”

The goal of the Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Program is to give people concrete tools to manage their arthritis pain and to live productive lives. The self-help program consists of a series of six classes. It is hoped that enough local people will be trained as trainers to offer the program in numerous locations throughout El Dorado County. Staff from PHCA will oversee and support the volunteer trainers in their implementation of the program.

According to Stokes, the Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Program was chosen for local implementation because it has a long track record of success.

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“We’re very hopeful that this will be a useful tool to help the many people in our community suffering with arthritis,” Stokes said. Although the program is primarily targeted for seniors, anyone of any age with arthritis is welcome to participate.

Individuals interested in being trained as trainers in the Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Program may contact Stokes at (530) 621-6106. Individuals may also sign up for a senior health assessment through PHCA by contacting Norma Marinko at (530) 621-6108 in Placerville, or Valerie Finnigan at (530) 573-3177 in South Lake Tahoe.

The PHCA program provides free, comprehensive health assessments for any El Dorado County resident age 55 or older.