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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 28, 2008

Voorheesville library reaches out to families,
offers workshops on caring for toddlers and the chronically ill

By Chloe Mister

VOORHEESVILLE — This fall, the library here will offer free workshops to reach both ends of the age spectrum. The workshops — on caring for toddlers or those with chronic diseases — are part of the library’s effort to expand its services to families.

The series for the parents and guardians of toddlers will discuss issues such as language development, early intervention for learning disabilities, nutrition, and arts. Local experts will facilitate the workshops.

“Parents can come and share their experiences with their toddlers with other families,” said Barbara Vink, the library’s public relations representative.

The Voorheesville Public Library was the recipient of a Family Place Grant funded by the New York State Family Literacy Library Services. It has used the grant to purchase items for its children’s center.

“We purchased a couch and new toys for the children,” Vink said. In addition to the workshops, the library will also offer supervised playtime for children.

For now, the library serves a bigger group of preschoolers, but is working on expanding interaction with seniors. It has purchased a Wii, a Nintendo game console that offers an interactive experience. “We are trying to start a program where the elderly can come in and excercise with the Wii,” said Vink.

The Living Healthy Chronic Disease Self-Management workshops combine Living Healthy, a component of Healthy Choices New York, and the Chronic Disease Self-Management program developed by Stanford Patient Education Research Center.

The workshops are given for two-and-a-half hours, once a week for six weeks. The healthy-choices workshop is focused on the elderly living with chronic illnesses and their caregivers.

Living with a chronic illness is stressful not just for the patient but for the caregiver as well.  Recognizing the psychological changes and adjustment difficulties brought about by chronic illnesses can facilitate adaptive coping, according to the website Elderly Health Services. The ability to cope with the illness is the prime factor for living a healthy life with chronic illness.

“This workshop can be very useful. The population is aging and most people are living with at least one chronic illness,” said Macaire Hill, a public relations representative for the Voorheesville Public Library.

“The baby boomers are getting older and are becoming caregivers for their parents,” said Hill.

Caregivers can be any age; they don’t have to be professionals. Many caregivers are taking care of those they love.

People with different chronic health problems will attend the workshops together. The workshops will teach techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation — symptoms that are characteristic of many chronic illnesses.

The self-management program will not conflict with existing programs or treatments. It is designed to enhance regular treatments and disease-specific education.

The two series are offered in September and October and both require participants to register. Those interested in the workshops should contact the Voorheesville library for more information.

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