The month of February is national American Heart Month and Wright Memorial Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program is working to raise awareness of the connection between heart health and emotional health.
In February of 1964, a national campaign began declaring February as American Heart Month in an effort to help bring awareness to the number one killer of both men and women in America. Heart-related health concerns come with many physical symptoms ranging from chest pain or discomfort to shortness of breath; however, the symptoms do not stop at physical. Many people suffering from heart disease or other heart-related problems often struggle with psychological or emotional symptoms. These symptoms can include, depression caused by an inability to do the activities they were once able to do, or anxiety caused by the fear of a repeat episode. Many studies show there is a direct correlation between heart health and mental health and each can have an effect on the other.
“We all have family members or friends who have suffered from heart disease,” said Robin Dennert, Program Director, WMH Senior Life Solutions. “It’s likely that those loved ones also suffer or have suffered some emotional distress during their battle. It is important to be on the lookout for symptoms of anxiety or depression, which can actually magnify the dangers of heart disease.”
Senior Life Solutions program is an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression often related to aging. Their mission is to restore the quality of life for older adults.
Individuals may benefit from the Senior Life Solutions program if they are experiencing any of the following common indicators or triggers:
- Recently experienced a traumatic event
- Lost a spouse or close family member
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of energy
- Feelings of sadness or grief lasting more than two weeks
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
Following an individual assessment, patients meet three times per week in a supportive, encouraging group setting. The program staff includes a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed social workers, a registered nurse, and other professionals dedicated to the emotional well-being of the seniors in our community.
For more information, call the Wright Memorial Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program at 660-357-4730.