Personal Best: Help is at hand

Pat Black offers a number of suggestions of where seniors can go to get help on everything from fitness to diabetes

  • Apr. 6, 2014 6:00 p.m.

That old euphemism “Help is a phone call away” just got more reality based. Recently I discovered that I could call a mental health support worker, an exercise specialist and a diabetes mentor and have ongoing and encouraging support from all three over the telephone to accomplish better health goals.

Bounceback is a community based self help program offered by the BC Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association to adults expressing symptoms of depression, low mood or stress, and anxiety. The program offers two forms of help, a DVD providing practical tips dealing with symptoms and the Service Workbook based component with a supportive telephone coach who would assist in the teaching of problem solving, and other skills to overcome difficulties such as inactivity, unhelpful thinking, worry and avoidance. For more information, contact

University of Victoria’s Behavioral Medicine Lab tells us that nearly 80 per cent of inactive adults want to be active, yet 50 per cent fail. We have the best of intentions but somehow our intentions fall by the wayside. You know those January resolutions that are distant memories by March. Well, growing evidence suggests three potential strategies to help you to stick to your resolutions. Find something you enjoy. The people who stick with exercise are those who actually enjoy doing the exercise.

Another helpful hint is to plan your exercise and you are more likely to do it. Looking at where, what, when, whom is making a commitment at least in your mind. Monitoring your successes and failures is important, too. Did you follow through on your exercise or walking plans for the day? If the answer is no, what adjustments can you make tomorrow to make it work? Make exercise a habit. People who stick with their exercise tend to do the same activity, at the same time, in the same environment. Finding exercise you enjoy, planning and monitoring your exercise and making it a habit can be the key ingredients to maintaining regular physical activity all year!

If none of this works and you are still interested and you could use some support to get going, consider taking the University of Victoria’s Active Choices program. Active Choices is a six-month personal telephone support program that encourages regular physical activity. A telephone coach works with individuals one-to-one through regular telephone contacts to develop an exercise routine customized to the needs, abilities and goals of participants. For more information, please contact Angela or call 604-522-1492 or toll-free 1-877-522-1492.

The Diabetes Association’s D-Chat program seems to me to be a great service. It is a free and confidential personal mentor program available for all people living with type 2 diabetes in British Columbia and Yukon communities. More information is available at To get connected with a mentor, please register at or call 1-800-BANTING

Yoga in a Chair is still going strong at People Place Mondays at 1 p.m. and Friday at noon, also at Schubert Centre at 10 a.m. on Friday. Melissa of Blue Eagle Yoga provides this excellent service for people with breathing problems and disabilities. Sessions are by donation only and what an opportunity this is for those on limited income or seniors on pensions.

Pat Black writes about issues of concern to seniors in the North Okanagan; her column appears every other Sunday.