Excelsior Springs Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program is designed to provide assistance to individuals suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety often related to aging including:
- Coping with Loss
- Decreased Energy
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Low Self-Confidence
- Life Transitions
Following an individual assessment, participants meet three times per week in a supportive, encouraging group setting. The program staff includes a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed social workers, a registered nurse, and other professionals dedicated to the emotional well-being of the seniors in our community.
Senior Life Solutions program referrals can be made by anyone, including a patient’s physician, family member, or other healthcare professionals.
Senior Life Solutions is located behind Excelsior Springs Hospital located at 1700 Rainbow Blvd. Please watch for signage.
For more information on Senior Life Solutions call 816-629-2629
Founded in 2003, Psychiatric Medical Care (PMC) operates inpatient and outpatient programs located in rural communities across the country. Founder and Chief Medical Officer, James A. Green, M.D., a geriatric psychiatrist, was born and raised in a rural community, which today hosts a rural hospital. He developed PMC with the sole mission to improve the quality of life of older adults living in rural communities. PMC, which operates the Senior Life Solutions outpatient program and Green Oak Behavioral inpatient facilities, is one of the largest geriatric mental health management companies within rural hospitals across the United States.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been told to shelter in place. For many of us, sheltering in place has been a way of life before COVID-19. The Health Resources & Services Administration states that two in five Americans report they sometimes or always feel their social relationships are not meaningful and one in five say they feel lonely or socially isolated. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than a quarter of the U.S. population (28 percent) of older adults live alone.
World Health Organization reports, social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The problem worsens as we get older.
- Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes. A risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
- Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
- Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
- Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
- Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly four times increased risk of death, a 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and a 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.
The late Dr. John Cacioppo, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago, studied the effects of loneliness for two decades before his passing in 2018. After suffering a near-fatal car crash and having what seemed to be a transformative revelation, he concluded that love and social connections are what really matters in life. He equated loneliness with a type of hunger, noting that establishing social connections is essential for human survival. He also believed that chronic loneliness can increase the incidence of early death.
One would think that knowing if we are being affected emotionally or physically from loneliness would be easy for us, loved ones, and our health care providers to recognize; however, this is not always the case. Like chronic depression or pain, over time we start thinking and believing it’s just a normal way of life. In a recent article AARP shares, Kerstin Gerst Emerson, a clinical assistant professor at the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia in Athens. “You can’t give the patient a blood test or an MRI.” Instead, diagnosis depends on asking questions. Living alone isn’t always the problem, although it can be. More important, say, experts, is a subjective feeling of social separation. “We’re all lonely from time to time, but the problems come when someone is chronically lonely, day in and day out,” says Steve Cole, a professor of medicine and genomics researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles.
Here are some Tips to Help with Social Isolation and Loneliness
- Take time to talk to family and friends- phone, virtual platform, email and social media
- Keep up a healthy lifestyle – eat a balanced diet, exercise and get quality sleep
- Take up a new hobby you always wanted to try
- Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can
- Practice relaxation, meditation, and mindfulness
- If new and social media makes you feel fearful or anxious, unplug
- If you are socially distancing and feeling lonely because of Covid-19, remind yourself this is a temporary period of isolation
- Confide in family and friends how you are feeling
- Take part in an in-person support or virtual support group
If you suspect you are suffering from chronic loneliness, talk with your provider or mental health professional. They can refer you to a mental health professional to see if individual or group therapy in-person or via teletherapy is right for you. Just like a medical condition, it will only get worse if untreated.
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255).
Excelsior Springs Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions is an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression often related to aging. For more information, or if you know an older loved one experiencing isolation or loneliness and is in need of help, contact us at 816-629-2629.
Winter Blues and Social Isolation: We’re Here to Help
With the holidays approaching and colder winds moving in, feelings of loneliness and depression may accompany the change in season. For many, this year may present added challenges due to stress and social isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the weight of winter blues may feel heavier.