As the pandemic continues, so do concerns about older adults and their mental and emotional health. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s a good time to shine a light on issues and resources for older adults and their families and caregivers.
The isolation that many older adults have experienced in recent months has increased anxiety, depression, and profound feelings of loneliness. When older adults experience this, it can put them at risk for other health-related issues.
AgeWell Middle Tennessee encourages church staff and lay ministers to counter isolation by reaching out to at-risk older adults in your congregations. Make regular phone calls and porch visits. Incorporate UMYF groups to engage in intergenerational conversations and activities. Younger children can start a pen pal program with older adults who may have limited access to family or friends.
There are reputable mental health resources in our greater Middle Tennessee community as well:
- Centerstone is available in multiple counties and specializes in behavioral health care. They also offer pro bono case management services to adults 50+ who do not have access to TennCare. Their crisis line is 1-800-681-7444.
- Alive Hospice offers many different grief support services, including pet grief support.
- Insight Counseling Centers provide counseling services for individuals, couples, and families in multiple locations and via telehealth.
- Support groups for caregivers are also available in-person and virtually to lend support to older adults who may be caring for spouses or other family.
- AgeWell Middle Tennessee has additional resources on our website at www.agewelltn.org and through our online Directory of Services. You can also call our Helpline at (615) 353-4235.