Take Control of Your Health

Take Control of Your Health is a peer-led programs that give people with chronic conditions and/or their caregivers the knowledge, skills and confidence to take a more active role in their health care.

Workshops are held for 2½ hours once a week for six weeks. Workshops are provided at no or low cost. Workshops are offered periodically in all 21 New Jersey counties and some workshops are conducted in other languages.

Participants learn strategies for managing symptoms, working with health care professionals, setting weekly goals, problem-solving, relaxing, handling difficult emotions, eating well, and exercising safely and easily.

Take Control of Your Health isevidence-based, meaning it has produced positive results for people who complete the program. Participants report the following benefits:

  • Improvements in physical activity, stamina and pain control.
  • Better communication with their health care providers.
  • Reduced doctor and hospital visits.

Take Control of Your Health encourages a positive approach to self-management of chronic health conditions. This program is intended to complement, not replace, professional health care services.

It includes three distinct programs in NJ:

  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) for people with chronic conditions and/or their caregivers.
  • Tomando Control de su Salud is a version of CDSMP that is conducted in Spanish.
  • Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Cancer Thriving and Surviving (CTS) for people who have recently completed cancer treatments.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) was developed by Stanford University’s Patient Education Resource Center and has been successfully implemented throughout the United States and around the world.

The program is a fun and practical course that helps people with chronic conditions and/or their caregivers overcome daily challenges and maintain an active and fulfilling life.

Participants attend peer-led workshops held for 2½ hours once a week for six weeks. The program is delivered in community settings such as recreation centers, libraries, health centers and senior centers.

Workshops are offered in all 21 counties. Some workshops are held at a set time of year while others can be scheduled to accommodate demand.

Tomando was developed for individuals who speak Spanish. The subjects covered are similar to CDSMP (see above), but they are presented in ways that are culturally appropriate. Workshops are conducted in Spanish without translators.

Like CDSMP, the diabetes program is presented in workshop format. People with diabetes and /or their caregivers meet for 2 1/2 hours once a week for six weeks. The diabetes workshops cover the following subjects:

  • Techniques to deal with symptoms of diabetes, including fatigue, pain, hyper/hypoglycemia, stress, and emotions such as depression, anger, fear and frustration;
  • Exercises for maintaining and improving strength and endurance;
  • Healthy eating;
  • Appropriate use of medication;
  • Working more effectively with health care providers; and
  • Preventing or delaying complications.

Note: This program is in compliance with standards set by the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Like CDSMP and DSMP, this program for individuals who have completed cancer treatments and/or their caregivers is presented in workshop format. The workshop meets for 2 1/2 hours once a week for six weeks. Workshop topics include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain, isolation, poor sleep and living with uncertainty;
  • Exercises for regaining and maintaining flexibility and endurance;
  • Making decisions about treatment and complementary therapies;
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals;
  • Nutrition; and
  • Setting priorities.

Click here for list of agencies in your county you can contact to find a workshop in your area. This listing indicates in which language or languages the agency offers workshops and which agencies also offer the diabetes program.

Volunteering to become a peer leader is an effective and rewarding way to make a difference in the lives of older adults.

Peer leaders attend a 4-day training program taught by individuals who have led workshops and been certified as master trainers. These master trainers provide peer leaders with the materials and support needed to be successful workshop leaders.

Peer leaders are often:

  • Individuals who have taken the workshop as participants and now want to share the program with others;
  • Individuals with chronic conditions or their caregivers; or
  • Individuals working in agencies engaged in serving individuals with chronic conditions and their caregivers.

No previous knowledge about chronic conditions is required. Peer leaders are provided with a detailed manual and agree to follow the script exactly as it is laid out in the manual throughout the program. They also agree to lead a workshop within four months of being trained and at least once a year after that, and to always facilitate workshops with another peer leader.

Peer leader training is held periodically throughout the state. To find a peer leader training course the NJ Division of Aging Services.

Interested in bringing a Take Control of Your Health workshop to your agency, site or workplace? Opportunities are available to host community workshops.

Sponsors provide:

  • Meeting space for 10-16 people, with seating that can be arranged in a “U” shape.
  • Assistance with recruitment and marketing.
  • Assistance with registration, if possible.

The NJ Division of Aging Services and/or its county-based partners provide:

  • Peer leaders trained to conduct the 6-week workshop.
  • All materials needed for the workshop.

To sponsor a workshop, email the NJ Division of Aging Services.

In addition to providing meeting space, marketing and registration help for workshops (see Sponsor a Workshop), provider agencies agree to have staff members trained and certified as peer leaders and, through the workshops they lead, identify and recruit other individuals to become peer leaders. Provider agencies are key to the program’s sustainability and growth.

"Peer leader training is held periodically throughout the state. To find a peer leader training course in your area, contact an training agency in your county."

To become a provider agency, email the NJ Division of Aging Services.

Take Control of Your Health

Feel better. Be in control. Do the things you want to do.

For more information on Take Control of Your Health, please call DoAS at (609) 438-47970.