New diabetes support group begins

October 15, 2013 

New diabetes support group begins

in Bradenton

BRADENTON -- Education about skills to manage diabetes is often classroom-style but a new support group is turning it into a game.

Interactive Diabetes Support Group meetings at Bradenton East Integrative Medicine, 8614 S.R. 70 E., Suite 200, Bradenton, features the "Journey for Control" game that combines active interaction, reflection and learning.

The group meets at 3:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month with the next meeting on Oct. 17.

"Journey for Control," developed by Merck pharmaceutical company, stretches over a conference table, said support group facilitator LJ Pierce. Cards at specific stations prompt conversations among players, with a theme for each of five meetings.

First in the series is how participants felt emotionally when first told they had diabetes.

"No one really talks about that but it helps," said Pierce.

The series is sequential but people can start at any time, she said.

Cost for each meeting is $10. For information, call 941-727-1243.

Senior Lunch Club talks about dementia

BRADENTON --A class for caregivers of loved ones with dementia will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 18 at Renaissance on 9th, 1816 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. The class is part of the center's Senior Lunch Club, which features learning over lunch.

Ellen Aquilina, a community educator with Home Instead Senior Care will lead the discussion about what to expect, how to manage symptoms and other topics related to caring for someone with dementia.

Aquilina said she doesn't plan to do all of the talking.

"I want this to be an exchange of ideas," she said. People can discuss their specific challenges and ask others for input about what worked or didn't work in similar situations.

Cost is $8.50, which includes lunch. RSVP to Debbie at 941-747-4655.

Living with myeloma subject of call

SARASOTA -- Anne Pacowta, Florida regional director of the International Myeloma Foundation, will be at the Center of Building Hope, 5481 Communications Parkway, Sarasota, from 2 to 3 p.m. Oct. 23 for an open conference call with a nurse-educator at the Cleveland Clinic about how to live well with myeloma.

Every year, the International Myeloma Foundation sponsors education sessions through live chats with nurses for multiple myeloma patients.

Multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow, is a complicated disease that requires patients to know how to best take of care of themselves, said Pacowta.

She will be showing slides for the presentation as nurses talk and answer questions through the conference call. Some of what will be discussed is how to treat myeloma and improve symptoms such as anemia, protein levels and bone infections.

The support group session is free. To register, call 941-921-5539.

Laughter Yoga class offered for cancer patients

SARASOTA -- For cancer patients and those affected by cancer, here's a chance to try the form of yoga that's all about inducing the giggles. Trish Engert will be teaching a Laughter Yoga class from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Center for Building Hope, 5481 Communications Parkway, Sarasota.

Laughter Yoga began in India and there are now Laughter Yoga clubs throughout the United States, said Engert, a Sarasota massage therapist and certified Laughter Yoga instructor.

Laughter lifts the spirit and changes the chemistry of the body, said Engert.

"The fact is that after doing this you've actually been exercising -- it gets the circulation going," she said.

At the Oct. 21 session, Engert will talk about the history of Laughter Yoga, then lead a laughing session and inner-smile meditation. The giggling is engineered through interactive exercises that lead to spontaneous laughing. Class members break the ice with a greeting exercise where everyone walks like a chicken and clucks.

"Adults have been told we need to be serious. This gives us permission to act silly," said Engert.

She has been teaching Laughter Yoga classes for eight years and notices that people look remarkably different by the end of class.

"People are very energized. They have pink cheeks and sparkly eyes," said Engert.

The class is free. To register, call 941-921-5539.

Susan Hemmingway, Herald health correspondent, can be reached at

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