Senior Life Solutions Helps Lessen Anxiety for Taylorville Man

Erie Miller, now 67, has dealt on and off with anxiety since he was in high school, but it was Taylorville Memorial Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program that helped him train his mind to not automatically default to anxiety.

“When you get older and older, you can’t drop the anxiety anymore,” Erie said. “It’s like a broken record. Your mind goes to the easiest place to go, and mine’s anxiety.”

Earlier this year, Erie found himself in an anxious state and knew he needed help. Megan Steely, PA-C, Springfield Clinic, referred him to Senior Life Solutions.

Some of the tools that Senior Life Solutions offers include:

  • 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

Erie drove around and around the parking lot before finally going in for the first session.

“I was really scared,” he said. “It was the unknown. I was leery about coming in and doing a program I didn’t know anything about.”

Amy Graham, RN, director of the Senior Life Solutions program, interacts with a number of seniors dealing with issues like depression, grief, guilt, personality changes, adjustment disorders and changes in sleep or appetite.

She went to Erie’s home to conduct an initial assessment, explained the program and set up a time to visit the physician. She told him about the educational component, physical check-ups, group sessions and lunch.

“This program creates a place to go talk, develop friendships, get people out of their home, “she said. “We also take blood pressure, administer basic tests including an assessment and questionnaire. On average, most participants take 45 days from start to finish.”

Once enrolled, Erie settled in. He was treated like an individual and given specific strategies to deal with anxiety.

“When you have anxiety, you isolate yourself,” Erie said. “Nobody understands. My wife didn’t. My kids didn’t have any idea. But these people did. I had someone to relate to. It’s a great program. It’s better than sitting home in a rocking chair and trying to figure it out yourself.”

Erie credits the employees for being down to earth and compassionate about his situation.

“My generation was hush-hush about having problems,” he said. “You were classified as sick or not right in the head. When you get older, it’s harder to deal with. You don’t have the physical or emotional strength to deal with it anymore. With Senior Life Solutions, I could talk to people around the table who also have problems. I would try and see their outlook.”

Today, he has a whole toolbox of strategies he can incorporate when anxiety creeps in. His blood pressure has gone back down, and he is comfortable in his own skin.

“Erie uses those tools,” Amy Graham said. “Early on, he’d come in some mornings and wouldn’t talk much – he was holding back. You could just see the anxiety. But he came to get help, and that has made a huge difference.”

For more information about Taylorville’s Senior Life Solutions program, call 217-824-1894.

View Erie’s story here.