The new program is geared for all individuals who are
age 65 and older, and is designed to assist them in working through
mental health and emotional wellbeing issues.
The program runs Monday thru Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and can
be tailored for the needs of the client for sessions that are group
therapy, individual counseling or even family counseling.
Angela Stoltzenburg with the ALMH Community Health Collaborative
noted that in the last health needs assessment in Logan County
mental health made it into the priority list. This program is going
to help address those issues for seniors. She explained that the
issues could be the depression or loneliness, prolonged grief, or
anxiety and fear just to name a few.
For those who may be concerned about the emotional wellbeing or
mental health of a loved one or even self, there are a few signs
that may indicate that a program such as Senior Life Solutions could
Changes in appearance or dress, or problems maintaining the home
Confusion, disorientation, problems with concentration or
Decrease or increase in appetite; changes in weight.
Depressed mood lasting longer than two weeks/extreme
Feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness;
thoughts of suicide.
Memory loss, especially recent or short-term memory problems.
Physical problems that can’t otherwise be explained, aches,
Social withdrawal; loss of interest in things that used to be
Trouble handling finances or working with numbers.
Unexplained fatigue, energy loss or sleep changes
There are also some trigger points that family
members should be aware of. These are physical events that can have
a serious impact on emotional and mental well-being:
Alcohol or substance abuse.
Change of environment, such as moving into assisted living.
Dementia-causing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Physical illnesses that can affect emotion, memory and thought.
Poor diet or malnutrition.
The program is tailored to fit the needs of the
client. A person may be asked to attend all four days of the week,
or only one or two days, depending on their need. The time spent at
the center includes a specific schedule.
The day begins with a visit with a registered nurse for “assessment
for medical stability.” Then there is a Psychotherapy Group that
lasts 45 minutes. Then a break time and a second session that also
lasts 45 minutes. Mid-day there is a 30 minute nursing education
group session, and then a lunch break. In the afternoon there is a
third group therapy session with the day ending by 1:30 p.m.
Stoltzenburg said that patients may be self-referred or they may be
referred by an attending physician or even another family member.
The services provided at the center are also covered by Medicare.
[to top of second
The Senior Life Solutions program in Lincoln is
being modeled after a very successful program at Taylorville
Memorial Hospital. ALMH is a part of the Memorial Health Systems
network as is Taylorville. This gives our local hospital access to
the resources of the larger medical community and also to best
practice programs at other hospitals.
The program in Lincoln is led by Bobby Leebold, a
Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Leebold and staff members Kim Ruch,
RN and Beth Cummings, Support Services are on hand daily to help
clients. The program also has a doctor of psychiatry, Dr. Ron
Johnson, who is available through the TeleHealth program for
The hospital is partnering with Memorial Behavioral Health for this
program and Leebold is an employee of that organization. Serving as
his support or backup also from MBH is Amber Olson. Olson is also a
Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
On Wednesday evening, Todd Mourning, Director of
Clinical Operations at ALMH was on hand offering short tours of the
facility. Guests were treated to light snacks as they did their walk
through and visited with the staff.
Stoltzenburg said that Mourning played a huge role in finding the
space for the center at ALMH and working to get it set up as a
comfortable and safe environment for the clients. Mourning said that
while he worked on the project, he felt he was just one small part
of a large team that worked to bring the program together.
When coming into the main front entrance of the
hospital, turning to the right, the first hallway leads back to a
very private area that was formerly the business offices. There is a
front reception desk then a large meeting room where group sessions
will be held. Ruch and Leebold each have private offices. Dr.
Johnson also has an office for personal or private visits with
If you feel you or a family member could benefit from spending some
time with the staff at the Senior Life Solutions, you may start the
process by contacting the hospital, or ask your primary physician to
do it for you. Call ALMH at 217-605-5750 and ask for Senior Life