Holiday depression among elderly sparks program’s outreach
At the time of year that seniors are most vulnerable emotionally, a free service to assist them is growing. The Home Visit Program is an initiative by senior care professionals at Emeritus Senior Living, Augusta, that is designed to check on the wellbeing of older people throughout the region. The program is being expanded at this time because the approaching holidays bring a greater risk of depression among seniors.
To further encourage families to take advantage of the Home Visit Program, the public is now invited to call Emeritus Senior Living directly at 316-775-1000, to request a visit to a local senior. This is a significant step for the initiative, which has primarily operated through referrals from agencies and emergency services providers since being launched in 2009.
“Just in the past year, we have conducted numerous home visits, so we know the need is great,” said Heather Blanke, executive director of Emeritus Senior Living. “In encouraging the public to contact us, we seek to make the program more easily accessible to a greater number of people.”
Through the Home Visit Program, family members can arrange for an Emeritus Senior Living expert to go to the home of an elderly loved one to see if he or she is doing well physically and psychologically. Emeritus then connects the senior and family with the proper resources and services to provide assistance.
“We may bring a hot meal, snack or dessert, and we also offer a listening ear and companionship,” said Blanke. “Afterwards, if needed, we coordinate between families and community resources. We may also follow up with additional visits. All of what we do through the Home Visit Program is complimentary.”
Emeritus Senior Living decided to expand the Home Visit Program during the holiday season because of the increased likelihood of depression among the elderly at this time of year.
“About 20 percent of seniors suffer from full-blown depression or a less severe form of the condition and the holiday season can be particularly difficult,” Blanke said.
Memories of happier holidays earlier in life can trigger depression. The loss of a spouse or close friends, physical distance from family, diminished physical capacity and health may be felt more keenly at this time.
“But most seniors know little about depression and they are unlikely to seek professional help for it,” Blanke said. “Still, depression can cause them to eat less, turn to alcohol, stop taking care of their daily needs and even consider suicide.
Knowing this, we felt it would be very important to expand the Home Visit Program during this season.”
Offering the Home Visit Program as a free service to the public reflects a central philosophy at Emeritus Senior Living in Augusta Blanke said.
“We are committed to the principle of ‘safely somewhere,’ which means that we do what we can to ensure that each senior in the area is residing in a safe environment that meets his or her needs, whether it is in the home or in a senior living setting. As the older population continues to grow, this crucial issue is affecting more and more individuals and families. It’s one that we take very seriously.”
Emeritus Senior Living is located at 1611 Fairway Drive, Augusta, KS and offers Assisted Living, Short Term Respite Stay and the specialized Memory Care Neighborhood for Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and other memory-impairing diseases through its Join Their Journey program. It is operated by Emeritus Senior Living.
About Emeritus Senior Living
Emeritus Senior Living is the nation’s largest memory care and assisted living provider, with the ability to serve nearly 50,000 residents. More than 28,000 employees support more than 470 communities throughout 44 states coast to coast. Emeritus offers the spectrum of senior residential choices, care options and life enrichment programs that fulfill individual needs and promote purposeful living throughout the aging process. Its experts provide insights on senior living, care, wellness, brain health, caregiving and family topics at HYPERLINK "http://www.Emeritus.com" o "blocked::http://www.emeritus.com/" www.Emeritus.com, which also offers details on the organization’s services. Emeritus is based in Seattle, Wash.; its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ESC.