Did you Know?

April is National Foot Health Awareness Month!

We've officially stepped into spring with more sunshine and rising temperatures. You know what that means... an increase in outdoor adventures and activities for exercise or leisure. Well it would only be right for us to talk about the importance of taking care of our feet with it being April and an entire month dedicated to foot health awareness!

With that said, check out this article in Healthbeat, a Harvard Medical School publication, for some tips on how to keep your feet healthy.

Workshop Tips & Tricks - VOL. 6

Can your participants hear what you are saying? Can they see what you are writing? How can you tell? Well, just ask them…

At the beginning of your workshop when all the name tags have been written and the participants are seated and settled in to listen, give this a try. After you have read (or said in your own words) the first couple of introductory paragraphs of the leader’s manual, let the participants know that this will be the voice you will use throughout the workshop. Ask them if they can hear. If not, speak up; or you can always suggest they move closer. 

Can everybody see and read brainstorm questions? Do your markers work? Does the text show up well on a white board or chart paper? What color markers are best for reading? The Take Charge Team has found that blue and black markers are the easiest colors for the participants to see and read. How do we know? We just asked them. We cannot always control the lighting at a location; sunshine could stream in through the windows or overhead lights could create a glare. Make sure your participants can read their ideas.

Do you have some tricks of the trade or a tip to to share? If so, please email Danielle Riley with your suggestions. Thanks!

Friendly Reminder

Fidelity Visit  - The Take Charge Team is always excited when a new facilitator has the opportunity to conduct their first workshop! To make sure a new facilitator gets off to a good start and feels comfortable, they are paired up with an experienced one. We request that when you schedule a workshop which includes a new facilitator, you also schedule a Fidelity Visit for either the third or fourth session. A Fidelity Visit is a check-in to ensure the new facilitator is delivering the workshop as designed. To schedule a Fidelity Visit, please either use the Wufoo Take Charge Fidelity Visit Scheduling Form or contact Joan Fox at (708)383-0258 or  joan.fox@ageoptions.org. Be mindful and don't forget to let your participants know that a visitor will be attending the workshop. Thank you!

Workshop Tips & Tricks - VOL. 5

  1. Have you been experiencing recruitment and retention challenges? Well worry no more, because the Health Education Team has created a tool to help you. The Pre-Workshop Checklist and Participant Recruitment Plan provides you with general guidelines to ensure you and your identified host sites are on t rack for workshop implementation and includes possible strategies to assist with recruiting participants. This document has been extremely helpful within our team in securing workshops and ensuring that host sites understand the importance of their involvement in the recruitment process. Some examples of recruitment strategies:

  • Promote at monthly gatherings or lunches

  • Include information in your newsletter

  • Find patients, clients or community leaders that can act as ambassadors for the program

    For other strategies, view the full document here.

2. March is National Nutrition Month!

We all know the importance of healthy eating and cover it in great detail throughout our workshops. If you happen to be looking for additional resources for your workshop participants (only to be shared after the session has ended), the National Council on Aging has got you covered! There are several tips for making healthy food choices with interactive tools such as MyPlate.

To read more, click here.

2019 Important Dates

Please reference this list for the Take Charge of Your Health Program’s upcoming important dates. Let us know if you are planning a training, so that we can add it to our list!

Take Charge Facilitator Crossover Training- Oak Park

Location: AgeOptions, 1048 Lake Street, Suite 300, Oak Park, IL 60301

Training will be held in the 2nd Floor Conference Room of AgeOptions, 1048 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301and will run from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm daily

June 10, 11, 17, 18 & 19 - Click here to register

September 9, 10, 16, 17, & 18 - Click here to register

For any additional questions, please contact Joan Fox at joan.fox@ageoptions.org or 708-383-0258.

Take Charge Facilitator Crossover Training- Rockford

Location: Training will be held at the Heartland Community Church, 1280 S. Alpine Road, Rockford, IL 61108

May 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 - Click here to register

Please contact Danica Gray at (815)490-1107 for more information

Friendly Reminder

Extending workshops - This winter has truly been a challenging one with excessive snow, sleet and record low temperatures; Spring can't arrive soon enough! Due to the winter weather, several workshops had to be canceled, postponed, delayed or extended additional weeks. If that should happen with your workshop where the week, day or time must be adjusted, please email Joan Fox at joan.fox@ageoptions.org with your updates. That way all records will reflect the correct information in our database. Thank you!

Telligen Forms - Please continue to encourage participants to complete all Telligen forms. To access all diabetes-specific data collection forms, log into the Facilitator Intranet on the IL Pathways to Health website.

Wufoo Registrations - When you register a workshop, it can take up to four days before you either see the workshop listed on the IL Pathways to Health website or receive a link to the registration forms (if requested). We thank you in advance for your patience with this process.

Workshop Tips & Tricks - Vol. 4

You’re right (Isn’t it nice to hear that?). It HAS been too long since our last Tips & Tricks post, so let’s dive right in.

1. We’ll be your “Bridge over troubled water”. Please make sure to reach out to us when there is a concern about maintaining fidelity. This often occurs in the form of your own or co-facilitator’s emergencies and illnesses. Our office should always be contacted and informed so that we can either confirm that your “back up plan” falls within fidelity, fill in when possible, or help you create a Plan B. Remember that we are also always here for guidance in non-emergency situations as well. If it is your first workshop, your first workshop in a while, or anywhere in between, we are here to help!

2.“What we want, baby you got it”. We collect data because we want you to get the R-E-S-P-E-C-T you deserve for all you’ve accomplished. Please make sure that you are matching the correct paperwork to your session (Take Charge of You Diabetes paperwork and Take Charge of Your Health paperwork is not identical). Paperwork can be found on the facilitator intranet portal and is separated by workshop topic and language.

3. We’re going to “Say a little prayer” for all of you that send us Attendance Sheets where the names are clearly printed (by the facilitators) and there are no scribbles anywhere. Although many of you have beautiful script, the cursive can be hard to read sometimes, so please when you’re filling these out.

This also applies to the Telligen paperwork. Please make sure participant names are written on all forms. We appreciate it more than you could imagine!

4. The SMRC is asking us all to “Think”. Many of you have expressed a desire to provide feedback about the Take Charge of Your Health program and facilitator manual and the time is here. The SMRC (Self-Management Resource Center) is actively looking for feedback and you can do this by completing the survey found here. This link is open to the public so you may share this with past participants as well.


Just remember that the feedback should be for the workshop, not the book.
They plan on closing the feedback period by next Monday, September 17th, so don’t delay!

Have questions about these tips? Suggestions for our next post? Leave a comment below

Workshop Tips and Tricks - Vol. 3

1.       Cloudy with a Change of Nutrition Labels? Back in November 2017, we posted about a discrepancy in nutrition labels found in the Living a Health Life books. We’ve received some new formal guidelines from the SMRC on how to address this during your workshops. It involves a new handout and changes to your Facilitator Manual so please read the blog post with a full description here

2.       Groundhog Day? No, just another reminder about the new workshop paperwork. For those who may have not seen the previous post, the Health Education team just wanted to mention that we debuted new workshop and evaluation paperwork at the end of January 2018. You can find all the forms on the facilitator intranet portal (found at the bottom of the IL Pathways to Health website home page), as well as instructions on how and when to use them. Please remember that there are fewer and different forms used in the Take Charge of Your Health Workshops vs. the Take Charge of Your Diabetes workshops.

An ENORMOUS thank you to everyone who has been using the new forms properly. You rock!

Note: If your organization is a delivery partner with AgeOptions it is doubly important that all Diabetes workshop paperwork is completed legibly and in its entirety. Possible reimbursement funding is available through our Telligen contract for qualified individuals who complete Take Charge of Your Diabetes workshops. If the participant does not clearly fill out all their paperwork, it is not possible for us to screen for eligibility and thus process the reimbursement for the delivery partner.   

3.       We’ve got Mail! From you. 😊 If you are responsible for collecting and mailing in the participant evaluations and other workshop paperwork, please make sure you include the name of the site where the workshop took place somewhere with the packet. A sticky note within the envelope will do just fine.  

4.       Lost in Translation. We are happy to announce that we have dug our way out of our Spanish translation pile. All workshop forms are now available for Tomando Control de su Salud and Tomando Control de su Diabetes! You can find them on the facilitator intranet.

As always, please feel free to comment below if you have any questions or suggestions for future "Workshop Tips and Tricks" posts. We look forward to hearing from you!

New Nutrition Label Handout and Corresponding Manual Update

**Back in November 2017, we wrote about a temporary solution for a discrepancy with the nutrition labels found in our Living a Healthy Life books. Please ensure that as of 4/1/2018, you are following the instructions found in this post**

As you may be aware, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has released new nutrition label guidelines. Due to this change, newer versions of the Living a Healthy Life book (4th ed.) have different labels than those that were printed earlier. This may have led to confusion for some during the label reading activity:

For Take Charge of Your Health this takes place in Session 5, Activity 2 (Making Healthy Food Choices)

For Take Charge of Your Diabetes this takes place in Session 4, Activity 3 (Food Choices - Putting It All Together)

The SMRC has asked that during these activities we no longer refer participants to read along in their books. Instead, facilitators should provide participants with a nutrition label handout. The SMRC has updated the corresponding pages in your facilitator manual so that you can conduct this activity smoothly and with the most up to date information. All you must do is print out the new pages and replace the old ones in your manual.

Click here to download the nutrition label handout and facilitator manual pages for Take Charge of Your Health.

Click here to download the nutrition label handout and facilitator manual pages for Take Charge of Your Diabetes.

Click here to download ONLY the nutrition label handout that will be shared with participants.

If you have any questions about this update or how to implement it, please feel free to comment below or email Sara Caudillo at sara.caudillo@ageoptions.org.

Note for Master Trainers: The SMRC has stated that they will not be updating the cross-training or Master Trainer manuals with these pages. You should use the pages from the Leader’s Manuals. 

Workshop Tips and Tricks - Vol. 2

Happy New Year everyone!

Here are some tips and tricks to get you off on the right foot for 2018.

1.    New year, new forms?
That’s right. All our workshop forms have received an update. Lucky for you, they have already been uploaded on the Facilitator Intranet page. You should expect to begin using these for your next workshop. Need a refresher on how to access that or what the password is? Check out the Essential Tools for the New and Returning Facilitator post

2.    New Year’s Resolution Suggestion: Get organized. (A.K.A. New year, new forms part 2)
We will now be using separate forms for Take Charge of Your Health and Take Charge of Your Diabetes workshops. The Diabetes forms are distinct and longer but should be easy to find on the facilitator intranet page. Please keep this in mind as you prepare for your workshops.  

3.    New Year’s Resolution Suggestion: Try something new.
If your organization also leads A Matter of Balance workshops, you’ve probably already noticed that the IL Pathways website is now also hosting MOB content. In the process of adapting the website to include this change, we also have updated the link to register workshops, the Workshop Scheduling Form. If you are in the need of the link, please contact your Program Coordinator. They should have received it via email and also can find it on the Program Coordinator intranet. Please use the new link as the old one no longer will receive submissions. 

4.    New Year’s Resolution Suggestion: Read more often.
One of the best resources for those participating  in Take Charge workshops is the Living a Health Life book. We love it when participants seek us out to share what they learned. It’s easier for a facilitator to continue the conversation with thoughtful insight if they have also read the material. It’s not required, but something you may want to consider making time for, if you haven’t already.

**We ask that facilitators working under the AgeOptions' license remind participants of our “lending library” policy during Sessions 1 and 2. Although they are welcome to use the book for the duration of the workshop, participants should not write in or highlight text in the book unless they have plans to purchase.** 

Have questions about these tips? Suggestions for our next post? Leave a comment below!

What's up with Page 184?

** Please be advised that instructions from this post are no longer valid as of 4/1/2018. We have received new formal guidelines from the Self-Management Resource Center on how to address the change in nutrition labels. You can find the new post here**

Maria and Sara recently led a wave of Take Charge of Your Diabetes trainings all around Illinois throughout October and November. They had the opportunity to meet some wonderful veteran and future facilitators but also learned about a “Living a Healthy Life” book update that left them scratching their heads.

Before we get into some clarification about how we would like you to work around this challenge, we would like to point out that this is just a work-around until we receive formal guidance from the Self-Management Resource Center (SMRC). They do not usually send out any sort of revised manual until they’ve identified a good-sized grouping of small errors, so we do not expect a revised Take Charge of Your Diabetes manual any time soon. However, we have been notified to expect a formal notice of how to work with this printing change in the coming weeks. 

Regardless, we do not want to leave you hanging in the interim. So, on to a description of the book’s printing change and our solution!

It was found recently that there are 2 versions of the nutrition label found on pg 184 in the 4th edition “Living a Healthy Life Book”.  It is our understanding that there is the possibility that the newest versions of the books were modified to include nutrition labels that are in accordance with the newest set of rules that the FDA released late last year. It has been clarified that the newer version is the label that lists the serving size as “1 cup (228g)” and servings per container as “2”. 

                This is the updated version.

                This is the updated version.

    This is the original version that should                 be used until further notice.

    This is the original version that should                 be used until further notice.

This discrepancy becomes a challenge during Session 4, Activity 3 – Food Choices, Putting it All Together. On page 14, participants are asked to go to pg 184 in their books and answer the following call outs based on the information that is found there. Our manuals currently have a script that follows the original nutrition label which lists the serving size as “1 package (28g) and servings per container as “1”. 

Current Solution: When you reach this portion of the activity (pg 14 of Session 4, Activity 3), do not ask participants to open their books. Simply hand out a copy of the original nutritional label and follow the activity as outlined in your manual. 

Current solution: When you reach this portion of the activity... DO NOT ASK PARTICIPANTS TO OPEN THEIR BOOKS... simply hand out a copy of the original nutritional label.”

Please implement the solution described above in your next Take Charge of Your Diabetes workshop until we inform you of any SMRC recommended change. 

If you are a facilitator that works under the AgeOptions license we are happy to schedule phone calls with you to review the instructions for this work-around, should that be your preference. Leave a comment below with your name and email address. 

If you do not work under the AgeOptions license, you are welcome to implement this temporary solution, but you should confirm this plan first with your license holding organization or local program coordinator.  

Click here to download the original version of the nutrition label.


Workshop Tips and Tricks

Thanks for stopping by our first Workshop Tips and Tricks post! We have a few very useful tips to share with you today. 

  1. The holiday season is here and the end of the year is near! Although we know that people often consider themselves too busy to attend a workshop during the winter, we encourage you to instead use this as a motivating factor to get older adults enrolled. Better self-management is a great New Year’s resolution!
  2. Follow the 1 minute rule! Sharing personal anecdotes about your own road towards successful self-management often helps make you and the material more interesting and relatable. However, sharing should not be used to frame yourself as an authority on the subject, nor take too long. Make sure you or your co-facilitator aren’t talking about yourselves for more than 1 minute at a time. This ensures that you give workshop participants time to share as well!
  3. Who doesn’t love a vibrant, engaged group of older adults? Brainstorm Rules should be read during the first session and then simply posted up where everyone can see them during remaining sessions. Re-visit these rules only if and when you feel the group needs a reminder, but hopefully not during every session.
  4. The Attendance Sheet is not a sign in sheet. Facilitators should do their best to fill this out legibly with all participants full names. Our data people thank you in advance for implementing this tip!

Have questions about these tips? Suggestions for our next post? Leave a comment below!

The Fearless Facilitator – Tips and Tricks for Foolproof Workshops

The Health Education team has always striven to find ways to better connect with our facilitators. We recognize that even the most seasoned facilitator can use clarity about certain fidelity guidelines and that newer facilitators thrive more when they feel like a part of a community. That is why we are using our new IL Pathways to Health website to its fullest capacity and launching our new blog “The Fearless Facilitator – Tips and Tricks for Foolproof Workshops”. You can look forward to brief monthly postings that will serve to answer the most frequently asked questions of the moment and provide suggestions on how to improve workshops (for yourselves AND the participants!). 

We feel that the blog format will be more useful than a traditional email blast because it will also allow you to re-visit past topics and read up whenever you need a refresher. Furthermore, our blog will feature a comment section. Have a burning question? Looking for additional guidance on a topic that was highlighted in a posting? Have suggestions on future “Fearless Facilitator” topics? Leave a comment with contact information and an AgeOptions Health Education team member will get back to you directly!

Keep an eye out for our first “Workshop Tips and Tricks” post. We look forward to your feedback. Thanks!