New program for seniors offered at Mercy

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Senior Life Solutions aims to help elderly with depression

A new program is being offered at Mercy Hospital in Cassville that aims to help seniors 65 and older who are dealing with depression and similar symptoms.

Kathy Holle, a licensed practical nurse at Mercy, is also a nurse for the new program, The Senior Life Solutions program, which starts on Aug. 20 and is still accepting patients.

"We've made a new area in the hospital and remodeled so we have a large room and a couple small rooms for the program," she said. "It's completely outpatient and it is meant to treat mainly depression and related symptoms. It's the only program of its kind for this area."

Lynsey Perry, program manager, said the hospital is excited to be offering such a program.

"We are very excited to bring this service to our community in Cassville," she said. "There are a few other programs out there, but nothing within an hour, or that focus only on geriatrics."

Holle said the program, which is three times per week, will feature group therapy, as well as access to a therapist and psychologist. Patients may be in the program for as little as a few weeks, or up to years, depending on what results are seen.

"There was a similar program in Carthage and some were there for only a month, but others were there for a year," Holle said. "It's very therapeutic, but it all depends on the level of severity."

Some symptoms of depression or other issues that may make a senior a good candidate for the program include: crying, hopelessness, loneliness, restlessness, sadness, coping with loss, decreased energy, difficulty sleeping and low self-confidence.

Only 10 individuals may be in the program at one time, and spots are still open for those who may be interested.

"In Carthage, it was successful because most patients, about 98 percent, completed recovery," Holle said. "And when they graduate, we still follow up with them with the psychologist or therapist outside of the hospital."

Holle said many of those who attend have been stricken by loss, be it loss of a spouse, sibling or child.

"We ask people to stay at least two weeks, but they are free to leave the program at any time," she said.

Perry said she hopes the program gets off to a good start, and expansion is in the plans if things go well.

"Our goal is once we start seeing a lot of patients, we hope to expand," she said.

Only 10 people may be in the program at one time, and if one leaves, another is added to keep the number as close to 10 as possible.

For more information about the program, people may call Mercy hospital in Cassville at 417-847-6042.

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