Better Choices, Better Health

A program to learn new tips for healthy living – one step at a time.

Experience the joy of living and doing the things you want to do.

Are you feeling alone, tired, upset or depressed because you are trying to manage your everyday life while dealing with an ongoing, chronic, (long-term) health condition?  Have you hit some “roadblocks” in getting yourself to the next level of wellness and need some guidance on taking those next steps? Or maybe you are a caregiver of someone with a chronic condition and you are experiencing frustration, fatigue or your own health problems, and possibly no one with whom to share your concerns.

No one wants to have a chronic, long-term health condition, but the truth of the matter is that most of us will experience one, two or more of these conditions during our lifetime. Many of the feelings just mentioned are similar and common across the spectrum of all chronic health conditions and can become part of a vicious cycle that alone or together may contribute to other symptoms, making the illness or caregiver responsibilities seemingly worse.

Better Choices, Better Health workshops can help!  A program that was developed, implemented, and extensively researched over the last 20 years by Stanford University, it has now become widely available across the United States. We are excited to offer this evidence-based program to our community. This program is presented in partnership with Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice.

For a Better Choices, Better Health Brochure, click here.

 Fast Facts:

  • Better Choices, Better HealthBetter Choices, Better Health is a 6-week workshop that meets for 2.5 hrs each week.
  • The program is designed to help adult participants self-manage their stable chronic health conditions by encouraging mutual support of and confidence in participants’ abilities to maintain their wellness.  
  • It is not specific to any one disease, but instead addresses a variety of topics that are commonly encountered when dealing with ongoing health conditions, including but not limited to chronic pain, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, COPD, Parkinson’s, stroke, fibromyalgia or osteoporosis. These and other long-term conditions can often dramatically affect people’s lifestyle and prevent them from achieving the things they want to accomplish. 
  • Topics include:
    • general nutrition
    • exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance
    • techniques to deal with frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation
    • proper management of medications
    • suggested ways to understand and evaluate new treatments
    • more effective communication with health professionals, family and friends
    • problem solving and decision making
  • The program is facilitated by two trained and certified leaders, both of whom are either caregivers or have chronic conditions themselves
  • Class size is limited to 10-16 participants

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: The Stanford University Model

Better Choices, Better Health  is the brand name of the evidenced-based Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, developed at Stanford University’s Patient Education Research Center in California. This program, which helps participants learn to self-manage their chronic conditions, is built on three basic principles:

  • Regardless of the chronic condition, people have similar challenges with self-management.
  • People can learn the skills needed to better manage their diseases day to day.
  • People who understand and take control of their condition will be healthier and happier. 

The researchers developed the content of the workshop by keenly listening to various focus groups of people with chronic conditions. The participants were the driving force behind determining which content areas were the most important.

An important point to note is that this self-management workshop does not conflict with any existing programs or treatments but instead is designed to enhance regular treatment plans and disease-specific education.


 Nearly two decades of peer-reviewed data reveal impressive results for the Stanford model. According to the National Council on Aging , a number of major published studies measured and reported significant improvements in health status, psychological well-being, and self-efficacy which is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Other notable improvements, also measured and sustained, were increased exercise, reduced fatigue, and enhanced partnership with physicians. Studies have also shown participants enjoy fewer emergency room visits, hospitalizations, inpatient days, and/or outpatient visits.

Workshop Highlights

  • Group participation, peer support and encouragement are the cornerstones of the workshop
  • The leaders function like coaches who assist and moderate the group's participation
  • Mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain fulfilling lives
  • A weekly Action Plan is an integral part of the program and helps the participant identify specific, achievable goals he or she wants to accomplish
  • Using their action plans and interactive learning, participants share practical advice on how to live with their health conditions
  • Brainstorming potential problems or “roadblocks” with action plans allows participants to hear others’ recommendations and then choose possible solutions
  • Participants have access to a variety of resources, including a reference manual called “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions,” a  relaxation CD called  “Time for Healing,” as well as the opportunity to develop a “buddy” system of peer support

Contact Information

For more information or to register, call Memorial Hospital, 603-356-5461, Ext. 2194.