Senior Life: Smoothing Over Life’s Rough Patches
Responsibilities seemed to be piling up for Marilyn Dulakis, 65. She was battling Parkinson’s disease; her mother was in failing health in a nursing home; a family member was venting to her daily; and her daughter’s family was living with Marilyn and her husband, Gus.
Her primary care physician, Dr. Pavi Gill, referred her to Taylorville Memorial Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions, a program that equips participants with skills and resources to better handle challenges associated with aging.
Marilyn looked forward to finding a place where she could go and talk. She attended the program three times weekly for 12 weeks and enjoyed the interaction with others. During the program, her depression lifted and she felt more confident and assertive.
“I’ve benefited from this program,” Marilyn said. “The people there know what you are dealing with. They understand, and they treat each individual with courtesy and respect. They make you feel special.”
Senior Life Solutions works to provide a helping hand through the proper guidance and regular attention of experienced professionals. The program offers:
- Group, individual and family therapy
- Medication management for behavioral health diagnosis
- Fellowship and nutrition of a noon meal
- Coordination of the patient’s care with the individual’s primary care physician
Some of the coping techniques Marilyn learned included deep breathing, visualization of a tranquil scene and the use of music to refocus. While the visualization doesn’t always work for her, she regularly turns to soft rock, instrumental music and even a little Frank Sinatra to relax.
Today, she’s a graduate of the program, but staff checks in with her regularly for follow-up. She isn’t reluctant to speak her mind anymore and is also sleeping better.
“Things don’t upset me as much as they used to,” Marilyn said. “I’m more patient.”