Thanks in part to La Plata County, the Senior Reach program will continue to help at-risk older adults in 2021. The County agreed to support the Axis Health System program as part of their public service agency funding in 2021.
Senior Reach helps La Plata County adults over age 60. It offers support for the well-being, independence and dignity of older adults through community education, mental health services and connection to local resources. Senior Reach is a national, evidence-based program that is having a profound impact in the community and has proven highly successful in decreasing depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and social isolation among seniors.
According to Senior Reach Specialist Anne DiZenzo of Axis Health System, the program has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of us are struggling with isolation from others, and this often results in symptoms of anxiety and depression,” said DiZenzo. “These issues are heightened in our local older adult population. These folks are struggling not only with mental health concerns, but also with problems connecting and communicating with friends, family and resources. Senior Reach provides a bridge to these resources and additional support during this difficult time.”
The Senior Reach program helps older adults who tend to be socially isolated. They may be experiencing challenging life circumstances, and are less responsive to traditional mental health programs. Older adults often face mobility and transportation issues and typically are navigating complex medical challenges. This complexity may feel overwhelming, and seeking out mental health care may be too difficult without easier access into this system. Addressing one issue at a time in a concrete manner can help untangle the web of uncertainty that can surround their lives. Simply helping individuals connect with housing options, tax services, medical resources or community programs such as Meals on Wheels can alleviate anxiety and depression for many older adults.
Training for community partners
Senior Reach trains community members to identify older adults who may need emotional or physical support. Community partners contact our call center to discuss their concerns and make a referral. The Senior Reach Specialist will talk with the senior to determine need and willingness for intervention. If the older adult agrees, Senior Reach will help connect them with appropriate services.
Senior Reach services
- Care management referrals
- Connection and referral to a variety of community resources
- Depression screening and treatment
- Identification and early intervention of prescription drug misuse or abuse
- Support for family members regarding Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
- Educating family caregivers on specific skills to assist in caring for their loved one
Signs someone may need assistance
- Confusion, disorientation
- Difficulty seeing, hearing, walking
- Recent loss of a spouse
- Anxious, depressed
- Withdrawn or isolated
- Loss of appetite
- Unkempt, dirty clothes
- Home needs repair
- Trash or mail being neglected
- Confused about money matters
If you want to refer an older adult, volunteer as a Community Partner, or get more information about Senior Reach or issues that impact an older adult’s health, contact Senior Reach at 970.335.2217. Services are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.