QCS Senior Writer
The Senior Solutions program at Dan C. Trigg Memorial hospital has begun its second year of helping Quay County’s senior citizens deal with depression and anxiety.
“We recognized is there is a need for counseling for older adults that may be suffering from a form of depression or anxiety,” said Lance Labine, Trigg’s administrator.
Labine said the behavioral health outpatient program was started in September 2012, aimed at offering seniors a support structure through group interaction and individual counseling. He said the service is confidential and is covered through Medicare.
Seniors sign up for the program or are referred to it, then participate in three daily sessions four days a week, said Dave McVey, program director.
McVey said the program emphasizes confidentiality and added that participants will not be required to talk about personal or traumatic experiences. He said the program is designed to give seniors an opportunity to gain a new perspective on their current situation while relating their own experiences in a group or individual therapy sessions.
McVey said program managers hope to offer seniors an opportunity to improve the quality of their lives and increase their independence.
“I am impressed with our staff and how well the program has worked over the past year,” he said.
McVey said that through the program’s group and individual therapy sessions, seniors are able to work towards improving their situation. He said the program helps seniors learn stress management and conflict resolution skills, resolve grief and loss issues and become assertive with their lives.
McVey said seniors may be experiencing difficulties and struggling to deal with grief, anxiety, dementia or even the loss of independence from a new disability.
He said the sudden loss of a loved one, or reductions in mobility and independence can cause seniors to withdraw, become argumentative and can interfere or stop communication with family and caregivers.
McVey said some seniors suffer from chronic pain, which affects their quality of life; they can even stop taking care of themselves. He said some studies have even shown that depression can sometimes mimic dementia and be overlooked as a cause of disturbing behavior.
McVey said the program is a treatment option, one that can work to improve the quality of the seniors’ and their caregivers’ lives.
“Seniors can make a powerful connection with other seniors who are going through or have overcome a similar situation,” McVey said “Through that connection they can feel confident once again.”
Senior Solutions operates Monday through Friday for more information call 461-7143
Mental health facts:
20 percent of adults 55 and older have a diagnosable mental disorder, while 4 percent of older adults have a serious mental illness.
Depression interferes with and adversely affects many aspects of self-care that patients must adhere to in order to control medical conditions, including diabetes.
What to look for:
• Confused thoughts
• Frequent crying
Source: Senior Solutions