Helping seniors cope with the winter blues

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FORTUNA- As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, it becomes a sensitive time for seniors, especially with the holiday season approaching fast. The winter months can be a trigger for depression among senior citizens and one North Coast assisted living center has launched a new program to help local seniors fight depression,
 
"Depression can really get you down so much that it can really harm you mentally and physically," said Executive Director of Emeritus at Sequoia Springs.
 
The senior living center in Fortuna is offering to help seniors around the community cope with the winter blues, Baumgartner said, “Senior citizens struggle with this more than anyone else."
 
Senior citizen and Emeritus at Sequoia Springs resident Christine Hadley said, “During the holidays if you do not have a family you are going to become depressed."
 
The center recently launched a program called "Blues Busters," that is geared to helping seniors not only survive the holidays, but enjoy them as well, "We initiated this program to help seniors get a boost during this time of year, and a boost can involve a number of things," said Baumgartner.
 
The “Blues Busters” effort is part of the center’s complimentary home visit program, in which the community’s professionals periodically visit area seniors in their homes to provide companionship and support. With this new program, they have created an activity card that invites any senior in the community to take part in a six free activities and events at their living center,
 
"They can get a free meal, they can participate in an exercise class, or they can come and get a hair treatment,” said Baumgartner. Hadley added, "Anything that enhances the older people's value of living is good."
 
According to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation depression affects 15 percent of Americans over the age of 65, "It is rampant everywhere,” said Baumgartner, “We are no different from anywhere else, and we want to improve their mental and physical well-being."
 
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the “Blues Busters” program, call Emeritus at Sequoia Springs at (707) 726-0111.