When Mechanicsburg resident McKenzie Callicoat started courses at Belmont University three years ago, she thought that she’d stay in Nashville after completing her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.
“I saw a lot of job opportunities in central Tennessee in my first year, but I soon realized that I could return home to Champaign County and make an impact on people’s lives in my own community,” Callicoat said. Currently, she is completing a 16-week experiential component at the Champaign Family YMCA as the last step on her three-year journey to become a licensed Occupational Therapist.
“Unlike physical therapy, which focuses on restoring physical function after an injury or illness, occupational therapy is designed to restore full participation in meaningful daily activities, such as self-care, work and family roles, and leisure activities,” she said. “Over the past three years I’ve developed a passion for working with older adults and teaching them how to self-manage their chronic illnesses.”
Callicoat’s doctoral thesis focused on educating healthcare professionals on how to use self-management principles with their patients. The purpose of self-management is to empower patients to make their own choices about their conditions and set goals for small lifestyle changes, which can lead to improved heath and quality of life.
Starting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, Callicoat will lead a three-week educational program that is free to the community. The program, titled From Coping to Thriving – Living with Chronic Conditions, will be held at the Champaign Family YMCA, 191 Community Drive, Urbana, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to noon. Highlights of the program include self-management skills, fall prevention, mental health, community resources and stress management.
For additional information or to register for the program, contact the YMCA at 937-653-9622 or stop by the Y. An evening session of the program will be offered after the first session concludes on March 16.
“As a life-long Champaign County resident I’ve seen the impact of chronic disease on people I know and love. Many older adults spend too much of their retirement coping with chronic conditions instead of participating in social and physical activities that they enjoy,” Callicoat said. “I want to use the knowledge that I’ve gained in graduate school to help people live meaningful and productive lives as they age, in spite of their chronic conditions.”
Submitted by the Champaign Family YMCA.