Free home visit service for seniors expands Holiday depression among elderly sparks programs outreach
At the time of year that seniors are most vulnerable emotionally, a free service to assist them is growing. The Home Visit Program is an initiative by senior care professionals at Emeritus at Legacy Crossing that’s designed to check on the wellbeing of older people throughout the region. The program is being expanded at this time because the approaching holidays bring a greater risk of depression among seniors.
To further encourage families to take advantage of the Home Visit Program, the public is invited to call Emeritus at Legacy Crossing directly at 615-794-6005 to request a visit to a local senior. This is a significant step for the initiative, which has primarily operated through referrals from agencies and emergency services providers since being launched in 2009.
“Just in the past year, we have conducted over 300 home visits, so we know the need is great,” said Tamika Brown, executive director of Emeritus at Legacy Crossing. “In encouraging the public to contact us, we seek to make the program more easily accessible to a greater number of people.”
Through the Home Visit Program, family members can arrange for an Emeritus at Legacy Crossing expert to go to the home of an elderly loved one to see if he or she is doing well physically and psychologically. If appropriate, a nurse conducts an evaluation to help identify care needs. Emeritus then connects the senior and family with the proper resources and services to provide assistance.
“We may bring a hot meal, snack or dessert, and we also offer a listening ear and companionship,” said Brown. “Afterwards, if needed, we coordinate between families and community resources. We may also follow up with additional visits. All of what we do through the Home Visit Program is complimentary.”
Emeritus at Legacy Crossing decided to expand the Home Visit Program during the holiday season because of the increased likelihood of depression among the elderly at this time of year.
“About 20 percent of seniors suffer from full-blown depression or a less severe form of the condition and the holiday season can be particularly difficult,” Brown said.
Memories of happier holidays earlier in life can trigger depression. The loss of a spouse or close friends, physical distance from family, diminished physical capacity and health may be felt more keenly at this time.
“But most seniors know little about depression and they are unlikely to seek professional help for it,” Brown said. “Still, depression can cause them to eat less, turn to alcohol, stop taking care of their daily needs and even consider suicide. Knowing this, we felt it would be very important to expand the Home Visit Program during this season.”
Offering the Home Visit Program as a free service to the public reflects a central philosophy at Emeritus at Legacy Crossing, Brown said.
“We are committed to the principle of ‘safely somewhere,’ which means that we do what we can to ensure that each senior in the area is residing in a safe environment that meets his or her needs, whether it is in the home or in a senior living setting. As the older population continues to grow, this crucial issue is affecting more and more individuals and families. It’s one that we take very seriously.”
Emeritus at Legacy Crossing is located at 910 Murfreesboro Road. It offers retirement living. It is operated by Emeritus Senior Living.
Posted on: 11/13/2012