Social Isolation Increases the Need for Chronic Disease Self-Management

Diabetes Education Empowerment Program Offered

Diabetes Education Empowerment Program Offered in Virtual Format to Reach Community During COVID-19


Social Isolation Increases the Need for Chronic Disease Self-Management Support Provided by The Gateway Family YMCA

As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues, daily life has changed for many individuals within our community.  With the need to remain socially isolated, especially for those with chronic medical conditions, many individuals have become sedentary, and many have foregone regular health care or well visits with their physicians.  The Gateway Family YMCA has recognized the need and benefit of Virtual Chronic Disease Self-Management programming and is offering programs free to the community in an effort to assist those who remain socially isolated and at risk.

The Diabetes Education Empowerment Program (DEEP), open to the community during COVID-19 and accessible from the comfort of home, is available with registration at  The Diabetes Education Empowerment Program is designed to help participants with pre-diabetes, diabetes, their caregivers, relatives or those who want to improve their overall health and well-being.

DEEP is a 6-week program designed to help participants gain a better understanding of diabetes self-care. Relatives and caregivers are welcome to also attend the virtual class sessions. Each session is 1.5-2 hours in length, with a class size between 5 – 15 participants. Curriculum includes developing self-care, preventing complications, increasing physical activity, improved nutrition, and utilizing available resources.

“The need to self-isolate and COVID-19 concerns have kept many vulnerable individuals’ home, lacking support or direction.  Our goal is to provide education and support to assist an individual in learning how to perform self-care specific to their chronic disease,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “The Y is the leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health. Through our virtual programming, we are meeting community needs, improving health and promoting virtual connection to those at home.”

The YMCA Lifestyle Coach facilitates weekly virtual educational sessions and small-group discussion.  Session topics include, Introduction to Diabetes, Understanding Diabetes Complications, How to Monitor Your Diabetes, Learn About Diabetes Medications and Medical Care, Meal Planning with Diabetes and Exercise and Problem Solving for Diabetes.  The Lifestyle Coach is available during weekly virtual classroom sessions as well as by email and telephone for individual one-on-one office hours. This program allows participants to benefit from one-on-one time with the coach and receive encouragement from their peers, who are all going through a similar experience.  In order to assist those who need the services most at this time, participants may join an existing session or register for an upcoming session.

“We have seen an increase in need for virtual programs at this time and understand this emotional support is crucial to the individuals we serve.  Changing a lifetime’s worth of habits is overwhelming for most people unless they understand why the changes are necessary and feel encouraged to make changes every step of the way.  That is where we step in to create a small-group support system of sharing and learning, all while remaining safe at home.” added Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA.

In addition to the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program, The Gateway Family YMCA is offering Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring (BPSM), open to the community with registration at

The Gateway Family YMCA is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose and each other.  Working locally, the Y focus on empowering young people, improving health and well-being, and inspiring action in and across communities.  By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y ensure that all have access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive.

To register for the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP), visit  For more information or questions, contact Paul Mickiewicz at

The Gateway Family YMCA