COQUILLE — The “Senior Life Solutions” program, an outpatient group therapy program at Coquille Valley Hospital, earlier this spring received the 2019 Program of the Year award.
The program, which provides assistance to the county’s elderly population struggling with depression and anxiety, began seeing patients in December.
According to Susie Breuer, the program director for Senior Life Solutions, this is the first time that a program has ever received this award during its first year of operation.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized and be part of a program and team that is changing lives in our community,” she said.
As part of Coquille Valley Hospital’s efforts to expand its behavioral health services within the area, the program works to help meet the needs of seniors 65 and older by providing them with a number of support services.
With a team of healthcare professionals from diverse backgrounds, Breuer said the program teaches seniors healthy coping skills, provides them with the tools needed to manage all aspects of aging as well as connects them with community resources.
Oftentimes, the patients seen by its healthcare professionals are community members who have recently lost a spouse or loved one, are acting as a caregiver for their spouse or are experiencing a number of things such as loneliness, chronic health issues or any major life change, said Breuer.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded locally, Breuer said the program has seen an increase in calls from seniors struggling with anxiety and stress surrounding the novel coronavirus.
With a number of statewide COVID-19 restrictions currently in place, the program recently shifted its in-person services to Telehealth as a way to continue helping seniors in need.
“During these unfamiliar times for our country and local community, we are here to address the continued needs of our seniors to help improve the quality of their life,” said Breuer. “… Even though we are physically distancing, we are remaining connected with our patients.”
In addition to receiving a national award, the local program was also selected as a “STAR” training site by Psychiatric Medical Care (PMC), a company which manages 92 “Senior Life Solutions” programs in 25 states across the country.
“The training sites provide interactive training for new program staff with the continued development of the Senior Life Solutions program,” said a press release from the program. “STAR training sites were chosen as a result of their time of service with the company, their ability to uphold PMC’s 3Cs of Care, Compliance, and Community, and their ability to exemplify the company’s culture of accountability and kindness not only in training new staff but also in their daily work serving their communities.”
According to PMC’s website, the company was founded by Dr. James A. Greene, a Tennessee native, who dedicated his life’s work to geriatric psychiatry and to helping improve the quality of life of older adults in rural communities. The local program is one of eight STAR training sites across the country, said the release.
For those seeking help:
If you or any seniors you know are struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety and other issues related to aging, contact Senior Life Solutions at 541-824-3080. Anyone can refer an individual to the program.
Crisis services are also available to all Coos County residents and visitors at Coos Health and Wellness’s 24/7 crisis hotline at 541-266-6800.