And that’s just what happened to seniors participating in a free counseling program offered at The Plymouth Apartments with grant support from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF).
For the past year, older adults who reside at The Plymouth Apartments in Winter Park have had consistent access to free individual, family and group counseling sessions on site. These services were made available through the Lutheran Counseling Services, based in Winter Park, which received the WPHF grant.
Lutheran Counseling Services provided supervision to a registered mental health intern who graduated from Rollins College with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She worked part-time, engaging residents in many activities designed to promote positive and successful aging. One particular activity was the Attitude of Gratitude group session. Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director, Older Adults, was invited to participate in the group recently. This was her experience:
“The day I attended, the all-female group ranged in age from 67 to 93. Although the focus of the discussion was on our bodies and why we are grateful for them, participants also expressed deep gratitude for the counselor and each other and the many friendships that have formed among them. It was uplifting to hear the women share stories of resiliency and healing from intense (and often long) physical as well as emotional ordeals. I sat in awe, taking in the stories of their life experiences (like the 93-year-old who just retired at age 89 when the construction company she was working for downsized). Clearly, the members of this group had no desire to bemoan their aches and pains—they had made the commitment to leave their apartments to come participate in this rich social sharing and I could understand why. The atmosphere in the room was so positive that I certainly had a lighter mood when I left.”
This positive aging focus has empowered residents to take more control over their lives, said Ms. Silvey. For example, they have planted an herb garden on The Plymouth property and plan to use the harvest for cooking and aromatherapy as one way to embrace healthy habits.