Welcome to the May 2008 Seniors Digest
May is Older Americans Month! This year’s theme is “Working Together for Strong, Healthy, and Supportive Communities,” and in this issue of Seniors Digest, we will take a look at a number of ways our community is working to support the mental and physical health of our elders and family caregivers. Check out the calendar of upcoming events for information on the Healthy Aging Fair; Senior Nutrition: A Community Conversation; Challenges in Caregiving: Giving Care, Taking Care, and more!
Also in this issue...
For More Information…
Check out SeniorsDigest.org, our national companion website. The Seniors Digest Resource Center is a great place to begin your search for information about issues of interest to seniors and their families.
We hope you will refer to our electronic pages often—to obtain advice, to learn of new and exciting services, and to offer us your constructive feedback.
Read Seniors Digest and tell us what you think. We are here to help.
Michael Miller, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council
on Aging and Disability Services
* More About Barbara Myerson
Suffering from depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Barbara had become so weak that she was barely able to make it around her apartment, and spent most of her time confined to bed. Health problems brought on by her emotional distress made it even more difficult for her to function. She became apathetic, losing interest in everything. “Basically, I just gave up,” she said.
The PEARLS program gave Barbara the motivation she needed to improve her health and her life. With the help of her PEARLS counselor, Carl Kaiser, she worked step by step to identify her problems and create a plan to address them.
As her mood improved, she began doing activities that she had once enjoyed, such as writing, art and playing the piano. She also began to take better care of her health. “Once I began to feel better, I didn’t want to go back to feeling worse,” she says.
Barbara’s most challenging goal was to return to her community center to re-start her swimming program. The physical challenges of getting to the pool were daunting, and she had anxiety about other people’s reactions, particularly as she needed to be lowered into the pool on a special lift.
Again, step by step she worked out a plan to identify and address potential problems, from laying out her bathing suit and towel the night before to making arrangements for her home care aide to drive her to the facility. Barbara overcame these challenges and rewarded herself by indulging in her favorite pleasurable activity, a soak in the hot tub!
Barbara now swims regularly, and also works out at the gym several times a week. She is currently working on her memoir and received a scholarship to attend professional writing classes at the Richard Hugo House. She climbs two flights of stairs to reach the classroom, a feat that was inconceivable a year ago.
Barbara continues to use the techniques she learned in PEARLS to overcome daily challenges. “It is still a day-to-day job to stay motivated,” she says, “but PEARLS helped me believe in myself and my ability to overcome my challenges. I push myself every day to maintain what I gained in this program.”
Barbara will share her story on May 30 at the 6th Annual Healthy Aging Summit, “Lifting the Clouds: Addressing Depression in Older Adults.” See Upcoming Events for more information about the Summit.