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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

VA caregiver support program orientation group

The Caregiver Support Program is comprised of two programs which serve and support caregivers of eligible Veterans: The Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS) and The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). This onetime class provides an overview of VA Caregiver Support Program, including supportive resources and services, understanding eligibility and how to apply or enroll. Do join us! 

When: Third Tuesday of every month, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT via WebEx
Contact: Caregiver Support Program 206-277-6696 or PUGCareGiverSupport@va.gov

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

Acupressure skills for chronic pain

This is a 4-session class for learning the basics of acupressure. Learn traditional points for chronic neck and low back pain, headaches, and effective points for relaxation. Referral from your primary care provider is required.

When: Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. PT
Contact: Pain clinic 206-277-5177

ALS support group

When: first Wednesday of every quarter (January, April, July, October), 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Jenny Bambara, PhD 206-277-4264 or Derek Anderson, PhD 253-583-1896

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 pain class

This class focuses on helping people understand the connection between their body and emotions, and how thoughts, feelings, and behavior affect the way we manage pain. We also emphasize helping individuals to explore ways to continue to live important values despite limitations imposed by chronic pain disorders.

When: Mondays, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Grant Shulman, PhD 253-583-3174

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 206-277-4142

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

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) support group

When: third Wednesdays of the month, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. PT
Contact: Jenny Bambara, PhD 206-277-4264 or 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

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 10-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 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

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. 

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: Monday, Wednesdays, and Friday mornings
Contact: Alan Wesley, Program Manager 206-764-2723

Healthy aging project: brain

Are you interested in keeping your mind sharp? This class is for you! We will provide education and skills to promote a healthy brain as you age. Be ready for active participation and home practice of skills to help you meet your personalized goals. The class meets virtually (we can help you get the technology set up) for 6 weeks. Each session is 1.5 hours. This class is offered 2 times a year. Next round will start in the winter.

When: call for information
Contact: Alice Verstaen, PhD 206-716-5782 at Seattle, Elizabeth Hirschhorn, PhD 253-583-1436 at American Lake

Memory skills group for older veterans with PTSD

Learn about how PTSD symptoms can interact with normal aging to cause memory problems and attentional glitches. Do you have a smart phone with a data package or a computer with internet and a camera? Are you age 50+? Then we can help you join us to learn tools and strategies to help you maximize your thinking ability. The class meets virtually for 8 weeks. Each session is 1 hour. This class is offered 2 times a year.

When: call for information
Contact: Alice Verstaen, PhD 206-716-5782

Moving free-ly: 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 206-764-2202

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LGBTQ+ 

Support group for LGBTQ+ Veterans

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 or Kevin Skiena, MSW 206-277-3366

Transgender Veterans support group

When: first Thursdays of the month, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Samantha Overstreet, PhD 253-583-1727

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

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: Alan Wesley, Program Manager 206-764-2723

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. 

MOVE! healthy teaching kitchen

This is 4-week cooking class presentation highlights concepts of weight management. You will you learn kitchen basics and delicious food options for breakfast,  lunch and dinner all from your home. Explore recipes such as Egg Scramble in-a-mug or a delicious and colorful Buddha Bowl. Hone your skills at adjusting recipes to meet your taste preferences.

When: Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. PT in March or May
Location: Online via VA Video Connect
Contact: 253-583-3183

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
Location: online via VA Video Connect
Contact: 253-583-3237

Tai Chi inspired mindful movement

This is an adapted Tai Chi program based on traditional Yang style Tai Chi involving movements that are performed while standing. These basic moves are easy to learn and can be used in daily life. Tai Chi can build strength and balance, improve posture and your overall sense of well-being. There is an initial individual session prior to group enrollment to assess balance, strength and goal setting prior to group enrollment. You will need adequate space in your residence (at least 3 feet by 3 feet), wi-fi and technology (tablet or computer with camera) and a consult from your PCP to outpatient occupational therapy in order to participate.

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Ruby Farinas, OTR/L 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 Monday of the month, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 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: Mary-Catherine Kane, PhD 253-583-1405

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: Rosamond Smith, PhD 253-448-9061

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 206-277-6579

Integrative restoration guided meditation (iRest)

iRest®, a guided meditation that promotes deep relaxation and can assist with body awareness and emotional tolerance. People who practice iRest meditation report more relaxation, improved mood, improved sleep, less anxiety, and less pain. Available to Veterans enrolled in VA primary care and their Caregivers. No appointments are needed.  Please, if you can, let your provider know that you intend to call.. To attend the group, dial 404-397-1596 followed by access code:  2761 824 7831 #  # (follow prompts).

When: Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PT
Contact: Dorothy Strobl-Lucas, RN 253-365-2183

Managing stress and emotions 

This 5-week class helps Veterans learn new ways of responding to uncomfortable emotions in order to improve their ability to cope with life’s difficulties. This class combines elements of mindfulness, cognitive therapy, and behavioral (exposure) therapy. Participants must join the class at session one and patients already enrolled in a mental health or addition treatment center are ineligible. 

When: Fridays, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT
Contact: Grant Shulman, PhD 253-583-3174

Sweat lodge

The Inipi (sweat lodge) is a place of purification-new beginnings-healing-direction-pathway-letting go. This Ceremony is provided by traditional native Veteran elders and helpers from the community, helps release the "sickness of being in battle with people and self.  We have your "6". Please view our website at http://vasweatlodge.net/

When: call for information
Contact: Mike L. 253-312-5431

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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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