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Health and wellness

Our Veterans programs for health and wellness offer information, resources, and treatment options to help you stay healthy. Find out how to get help quitting tobacco use, preventing disease, managing your weight, and maintaining your mental health.

Caregiver support

Caregivers FIRST

Caregivers FIRST is a caregiver skills training program with the goal of connecting caregivers to resources to help them feel more confident, capable and supported in their caregiving role. The program is designed to help caregivers build coping, support-seeking and hands-on skills and strategies. 

When: call for information
Contact: Caregiver Support Program 206-277-6696

REACH VA caregiver program

REACH VA Caregiver Program improves the emotional and physical well-being of caregivers and enhances quality of care for their loved ones. Caregivers are taught problem-solving skills and stress and mood management techniques and provided information on disease related concerns that are customized for each caregiver. There are four sessions between the caregiver and a Program Coach (more if needed).

When: call for information
Contact: Caregiver Support Program 206-277-6696

REACH VA caregiver telephone support groups

REACH VA Caregiver Telephone Support Groups for caregivers teach valuable skills in a group format to help with problem solving, stress management and positive thinking. The Telephone Support Group Leader works with a group of caregivers to learn better ways to deal with challenges and find time to care for you as well.

When: call for information
Contact: Caregiver Support Program 206-277-6696

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Health education and support

ABCs of long-term care seminar

Join us to learn about Long Term Care resources both in the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as in your local county. 

When: offered 1-2 times per month on Mondays, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PT
Contact: Ann Stewart, LICSW 360-419-3698

Advance care planning

Advance care planning is about planning for the “what ifs” related to your health that may occur at any stage of life. This group guides Veterans and their loved ones through this process.

When: forth Thursday of the month, 2:00 p. m.  to 4:00 p.m. PT
Where:  American Lake VA Medical Center
Contact: Jodie Hartman, MSW 253-583-1488

ALS support group

When: first Wednesday of every quarter (January, April, July, October), 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Derek Anderson, PhD 253-583-1896 or Maddi Werhane, PhD 206-277-4604

Amputee support group

When: first and third Mondays of the month, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Jenny Bambara, PhD 206-277-4264 or Christina Frankel-Barton, PT 206-277-3721

Chronic Kidney Disease Nutrition Class

This is a one-time, 60-minute introduction to nutrition recommendations for Veterans with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). The goal is to learn how diet can slow the progression of kidney disease, minimize symptoms of kidney disease, and benefit long term dietary habits. This class is designed as an intervention for Veterans in earlier stages of CKD and provides an opportunity to connect with our Renal Dietitian Specialist for subsequent individual counseling as needed.

When: First Tuesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. PT
Contact:  206-277-3012

Diabetes education program

This one-session virtual class provides education on diabetes and diabetes self-management. 

When: 4th Thursday of each month. Call to schedule. Link to join will
be emailed to you.
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT
Contact: 253-583-3373 or 800-329-VETS Ext 73373

Diabetes self-management and care

This is a 6-session video conferencing group for Veterans with diabetes. This group helps empower you to thrive while managing diabetes by focusing on 7 self-care behaviors: healthy eating, activity, taking medications, monitoring, problem solving, healthy coping and reducing risks. This program runs quarterly and is accredited by the American Diabetes Association.  

When: Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Ashley Paschke, MS, RD, CDCES 206-764-2103

Living with stroke: a support group for stroke survivors

This is a support group for Veterans who have experienced strokes.

When: second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. PT
Contact: Derek Anderson, PhD 253-583-1896

Long-term care group

This group provides information to Veterans and their loved ones about long-term care healthcare options.

When: third Tuesday of the month, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. PT
Where: American Lake VA Medical Center
Contact: Jazmynn Hardy, LMSW 253-583-1145

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) support group

When: third Wednesdays of the month, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. PT
Contact: Derek Anderson, PhD 253-583-1896

Taking charge of my life and health

In this longer-term group, Veterans can delve deeper into self-exploration of areas of their lives they wish to enhance and to create SMART goals and action steps that will help them attain these goals.

When: call for information
Contact: Lamont Tanksley 206-716-5797 or Puget Sound Rehabilitation Care 
Specialties Whole Health Team 206-762-1010 x67098

Taking charge of your fatty liver

This is a 6-session group is for Veterans with Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Steatohepatitis to learn about how the liver functions, the spectrum and stages of fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, information on the diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of fatty liver disease and cirrhosis, weight loss medications and metabolic surgery, exercise, and nutrition. We will also discuss how to change self-defeating thoughts and use tools, such as food and activity logs and apps, to help make these changes.

When: Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m. to  3:00 p.m. PT, beginning March 28, 2023
Contact: Walter Kopf, LICSW 206-277-4236

Veterans cancer support group

This weekly support group is for all Veterans with a cancer diagnosis in the past or at the present. This group is currently on hiatus and will restart when face-to-face meetings are allowed. The day and time of the support group may change from the day and time listed. Interested veterans should contact the facilitators listed below for updated information. 

When: Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Ana DeVage, LICSW, OSW-C 206-764-2624 or Melinda Walker, LICSW 206-277-6756

Whole health (introductory class)

This 2-hour educational and experiential session is based on a specific curriculum that exposes participants to the foundational concepts of Whole Health, allows time for self-care and self-exploration, and for initiation of a Personal Health Inventory (PHI)

When: call for information
Contact: Lamont Tanksley 206-716-5797

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Women's health

Maternal health group

This is a 12-session videoconferencing group for Women Veterans between 16 weeks of pregnancy through 6 months after delivery. Social and informational support, along with stress management skills, can offset risks for problems in pregnancy and postpartum and can help make the experience of this time of life better. This group promotes physical and mental health by providing education, stress management skill development and a forum for peer support. Sessions focused on managing stress are alternated with informational sessions that bring in a member of the women’s health team (primary care doctor, nurse, social worker, psychiatrist, pharmacist, lactation consultant, physical therapist, and maternity care coordinator) to offer their special expertise and answer your questions.

When: Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Contact: MJ Mariano, PhD 206-277-3027, your Primary Care Provider, or the Maternity Coordinator

Menopause 101

This is a shared appointment for women Veterans who want to learn about and share experiences. We will come together to discuss menopause, hot flashes and sweats, sexual health, sleep, mood, and weight.

When: call for information
Contact: MJ Mariano, PhD 206-277-3027 or Janna Fikkan, PhD 253-83-1699

Momma Bear Club

Expectant and new parents get together virtually to talk about birth, lactation, parenting with love in the first 2 years and more!

When: Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Dolly Crespo, RN, IBCLC 253-219-7690

Pregnancy physical therapy class

This 2-hour educational and experiential class is for pregnant Veterans. You will learn about posture and positioning, exercise during pregnancy, and about the pelvic floor during pregnancy and the post-partum period. Class is held via VVC (video). No consult is needed.

When: second Wednesday of the month, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Kathryn Rice 206-768-5207 or Maureen Wilson 253-583-1804

Women’s cancer support group

This videoconference monthly group is for women who have had or have cancer and centers around social support.

When: fourth Tuesday of each month at 11:00 a.m. PT
Contact: MJ Mariano, PhD 206-277-3027

Women’s pain and health self-management group 

This 10-session group is for women with chronic pain and other chronic conditions. A wholistic approach sets the tone for work on body awareness through mindfulness and making small steps toward better health. Women Veterans commonly experience persistent health problems such as chronic pain, mood and anxiety difficulties, PTSD, and other health problems, sometimes all of these. Women Veterans provide mutual support in their understanding of the challenges and celebration of the successes in better managing their health.

When: Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT
Contact: MJ Mariano, PhD 206-277-3027

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Healthy aging

Aging resiliently 

This 6-session video-based class teaches skills to handle negative emotions and change unhelpful behaviors while facing new challenges and life transitions associated with aging. The overarching goal of the class is to help Veterans to live life fully and engaged with values while getting older. 

When: call for information
Contact: Elizabeth Hirschhorn, PhD 253-583-1436

Gerofit exercise program

Gerofit is a supervised exercise program for Veterans 65 years and older from all VA Puget Sound locations. Gerofit exercise sessions aim to increase endurance, build strength, and improve balance. The program includes an individual physical fitness assessment, group classes, and Veteran comradery. Gerofit exercise sessions are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings over VA streaming video. Request a Gerofit consult from your Primary Care Provider. Or, for more information call 206-764-2723

When: Call for information
Contact: Bethany Kidd, RN, MSN 206-764-2723

Moving freely: falls prevention class

Have you had a recent fall in your home or around town? Do you sometimes feel dizzy, weak, or unsteady on your feet? Would you like to learn more about balance and strength? Discover ways to prevent falls in your home and on the go. This 6-week class includes a weekly education session and a separate exercise session. You will need adequate space in your residence (at least 3 feet by 3 feet), wi-fi and technology (tablet or computer with camera). 

When: Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT and a separate exercise session weekly
Contact: Ruby Farinas, OTR/L or Amanda Olney, DPT, GCS at 206-764-2202

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LGBTQ+ 

Psychotherapy Group for Gender Diverse and Transgender Veterans

Monthly goal-oriented group where veterans who are gender diverse work on personal challenges associated with their gender experience. Specific screening is needed for participation. Maximum of 12 participants.

When: Either the First Tuesdays of the month, 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT
or the Second Mondays of the month, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PT
Contact: MJ Mariano, PhD 206-277-3027

Support group for LGBTQ+ Veterans

When: first and third Tuesdays of the month, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Kyle Czeh, LICSW 206-277-6020 

When: second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Kyle Czeh, LICSW 206-277-6020 

Support and Skills Group for Transgender and Gender Diverse Veterans

When: Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. PT (no meetings on the 5th Thursday of any month)
Contact: Drs. Kate Wilsey and Cathy Roberts  253-583-1773

Learn more how the Veterans Health Library provides a no-hassle way to get answers to your health questions

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Nutrition and physical activity

Diabetes and Nutrition Class

This class explores the fundamentals of diabetes and nutrition. Topics focus on blood glucose management and heart health. Each class will include a participant driven hot topic discussion. Special events for the season, such as recipe spotlights will be offered to past participants throughout the year. You can revisit this class as often as you like.

When: forth Tuesday of each month, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Ashley Paschke, MS, RD, CDCES 206-764-2103 or Judy Willis, MPH, RD, CDCES 360-848-8500

Gentle Yoga (Virtual Class)

This is a gentle yoga class offered with modifications to meet your needs taught in a trauma-informed way. Yoga can improve flexibility, strength, teach you to move within your limits, and improve your overall sense of well-being. The class meets for 1 hour, twice a week for 8 weeks. There is an initial evaluation with an Occupational Therapist prior to group enrollment. Requirements for participation: wi-fi and technology (tablet or computer with camera), 5’ x 5’ space in your residence, consult from a physician to outpatient Occupational Therapy for Yoga.

When: Call for information
Contact: Sarah Punshon, OTR/L; 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher 206-764-2202

Gerofit exercise program

Gerofit is a supervised exercise program for Veterans 65 years and older from all VA Puget Sound locations. Gerofit exercise sessions aim to increase endurance, build strength, and improve balance. The program includes an individual physical fitness assessment, group classes, and Veteran comradery. Gerofit exercise sessions are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings over VA streaming video. Request a Gerofit consult from your Primary Care Provider. Or, for more information call 206-764-2723

When: Monday, Wednesdays, and Friday mornings
Contact: ABethany Kidd, RN, MSN 206-764-2723

Intuitive eating

Have your efforts at dieting and weight loss been unsuccessful? Have you repeatedly lost weight on a diet, just to regain it all back, plus some? Did you know one of the strongest predictors of weight gain IS dieting?

As a participant in this 8-week interactive class, you will experience becoming an intuitive eater – a way of approaching nutrition with a focus on developing a healthier relationship with food and your body that isn’t focused on weight. Instead of focusing on weight loss and dieting to direct your food choices, Intuitive Eating will teach you how to increase trust in your body’s natural cues and signals in guiding how, when, and what you choose to eat.

When: Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PT
Contact: Alexandra Bright, MD 206-549-7992 or Audrey Perkins, RDN 206-277-4142 x64142 

MOVE! program

MOVE! is a weight management, health promotion program designed to improve your life. MOVE!’s core ideas—encouraging healthy eating behavior, increasing physical activity, and promoting even small weight losses—are easy to follow and based on the latest in nutrition science. The program guides you to make lifestyle changes through goals YOU set. MOVE! is not a diet; it is a life-changing program. All of our support options are offered virtually via VA Video Connect or Telephone.

  • Group Education and Support
  • Individual Coaching
  • Home Telehealth TeleMOVE! – Technology Linked Care
  • Print and digital resources for self-management

When: call or send a Secure Message in MyHealtheVet for information
Contact: 253-583-3183 or MOVE!_Puget Sound_HPDP
Access www.move.va.gov for general weight management information. 

Nutrition bootcamp

This is a one-time, 60-minute basic nutrition class. You will learn about non-disease specific topics such as my healthy plate, how to read food labels, healthier options when eating out, healthy cooking techniques, meal planning strategies, grocery shopping tips, deciphering fad diets, and an overview of a plant-based diet.

When: twice a month on Fridays at 12:00 p.m. PT
Contact: 253-583-3237

Tai Chi inspired fundamentals

This is an adapted Tai Chi program based on traditional Yang style Tai Chi performed while standing. Tai Chi can build strength and balance, improve posture and improve your overall sense of well-being. The class meets for 1 hour 2x/week for 12 weeks. There is an initial evaluation with an Occupational Therapist prior to group enrollment. Requirements for participation: wi-fi and technology (tablet or computer with camera), 5’ x 5’ space in your residence, consult from a physician to outpatient Occupational Therapy for Tai Chi Fundamentals.

When: Call for information
Contact: Sarah Punshon, OTR/L; Certified Instructor Tai Chi Fundamentals 206-764-2202

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Sleep improvement

CPAP desensitization 

This 1-time class provides Veterans with information about sleep apnea and helps them become more comfortable with their CPAP machines. 

When: first Wednesday of the month, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PT
Contact: Joshua Breitstein, PsyD 253-583-2571

Sleep improvement group

Learn behavioral strategies to improve your sleep.

When: second Wednesday of every month, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PT
Contact: Joshua Breitstein, PsyD 253-583-2571

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Stress management and emotional well-being

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

This 6-session class teaches Veterans how to deal with negative emotions, get unstuck from unhelpful patterns of behavior, and develop skills to live more fully and engaged with values.

When: Mondays, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., via VA Video Connect
Contact: Amber Sitz, MA 253-583-2885

Cognitive behavioral therapy

This 6-session group is focused on using cognitive and behavioral strategies to improve overall functioning and wellbeing. 

When: Tuesdays, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT, via VA Video Connect
Contact: Amee Epler 253-583-3720

Dealing with irritability

Topics discussed in this 8-session series include mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills. Veterans can start any time.

When: Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Jessica Slagg, LICSW 253-583-1606

Depression management

This 4-session class is intended for Veterans with mild-to-moderate symptoms
of depression, as well as for Veterans experiencing difficulties after a recent life
change (e.g., retirement, divorce, separation from the military, moving, death
of a loved one). Information covered includes practical, evidence-based coping
skills to help reduce symptoms of depression and increase life satisfaction.

When: Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Evelyn Larsen, LICSW 253-589-4241

Home iRest Yoga Nidra – Integrative Restoration Guided Meditation

This 8-week group is guided meditation practice based on the ancient tradition of
Yoga Nidra and adapted to suit the conditions of modern life. When practiced
regularly, iRest enables you to meet each moment of your life with unshakable
peace and wellbeing, no matter how challenging or difficult your situation. Class
starts with gentle stretches then transitions into meditation. Veterans can start
any time.

When: Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. PT, via VA Video Connect
Contact: Mary Wasierski, OTR/L 253-583-1743

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Relationship health and safety

Strength at Home

This 12-week group is designed for Veterans who have used or are concerned about using aggression in intimate relationships. Group topics include defining abusive behaviors, understanding the connection between trauma and abusive behavior, learning de-escalation strategies, managing stress more effectively, communicating more assertively, and expressing emotions.

When: Call for next start date
Contact: 206-716-5784

Windows

This 9-week group is for female-identified Veterans who have or are still experiencing intimate partner violence in any form. This group is a mix of education, support, and skills. Topics include understanding abusive dynamics and the impact on your health, exploring barriers to leaving, coping with stress, safety planning, and learning about resources.

When: Call for next start date
Contact: 206-716-5784

New Horizons

This 8-week group is for male-identified Veterans who have or are still experiencing intimate partner violence in any form. This group is a mix of education, support, and skills. Topics include understanding abusive dynamics and the impact on your health, exploring barriers to leaving, coping with stress, safety planning, and learning about resources.

When: Call for next start date
Contact: 206-716-5784

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Tobacco cessation

Quit smoking group 

Get support through your journey to be nicotine free. Learn a variety of behavioral strategies while receiving support from other Veterans becoming nicotine free.

When: Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Emily DiNatale, PhD 253-583-3284

Quit VET telephone Quitline

VA’s free telephone Quitline offers tobacco cessation counseling to any Veteran who receives their health care through VA. Quit VET is staffed by trained counselors who will help you during any phase of quitting—whether you are thinking about it, you started your quit attempt, or you are trying to get back on track after a slip or relapse to tobacco.

When: Quitline is open Monday-Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT
Contact: 855-784-8838

Tobacco education group 

This group is designed for Veterans who are interested in exploring their tobacco use including goal setting and behavioral strategies to reduce/quit using tobacco. Access to nicotine replacement therapy and other tobacco cessation agents will be available to interested Veterans.

When: Mondays, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PT
Contact: Tory Durham, PhD 206-762-1010 x67123, Fabienne Chou, PharmD, BCPP 206-716-5788

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Veteran orientation

Post 9/11 era veteran orientation briefing

The Post 9/11 Era Veteran Orientation Briefing assists Veterans who have recently separated from military service with navigating the VA health care system and understanding the overall VA structure, programming and time-sensitive benefits. The Transition and Care Management (TCM) Program staff is available to answer individual questions following the briefing related to the topics addressed.

When: every other Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and every other Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT
Contact: 253-583-1165

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