A WISE Group to Help with Healthy Aging
Although we all age, we may not always know what to expect or how we can keep ourselves healthy as our bodies change. A group medical visit at the Center for Wellness is intended to help senior patients learn ways to improve their health and quality of life as they age.
“Older patients in particular benefit from the opportunity to have more in-depth conversations with health care providers than they might otherwise have during a regular clinic visit,” Dr. Melissa Stiles, a UW Health primary care physician who leads the group, says. “Group visits also provide social support, which can empower older patients to ask more questions and get the information they need.”
The four-week series, Wellness in Seniors Empowerment – or WISE – teaches individuals about issues unique to older adults including fall prevention, memory changes, managing multiple medications, cooking, meditation and movement. The groups are small, with eight to ten participants, and each session lasts approximately two hours.
The group visits are not intended to replace a patient’s primary care, although each session does include an exam by Dr. Stiles, who is board certified in geriatric medicine, along with hospice and palliative medicine. But, Dr. Stiles explains that the visits can help identify primary or specialty care needs. With a patient’s permission, she will share recommendations with their primary care physician including possible medication changes.
During group medical visits, patients can share as much as or as little as they feel comfortable. But the benefit from the group is the opportunity to learn from each other, find support and connect with others who may be experiencing similar issues. Participants will also leave the sessions with a personal wellness action plan and an Aging Mastery Starter Kit, developed by the National Council on Aging. The kit includes resources to help individuals continue the lessons on their own, including a guidebook, DVDs of stretching exercises and Tai Chi, activity cards and more.
Interested participants should check with their insurer regarding coverage as the visits will be submitted to insurance. The next series begins Tuesday, August 6. For more information and to register, call (608) 440-6600.
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Date Published: 07/15/2019