Highlighting ESC’s Wellness Partners: Senior Reach

Supporting older adults’ health and wellness is a priority at Eaton Senior Communities. In considering all of the dimensions of wellness, emotional wellness is especially important in later life as seniors experience loss and transition. Through ESC’s partnership with HealthSET, our residents have access to Senior Reach, a preventive community program founded in 2005 that identifies older adults who may need emotional or physical support and/or connection to community services. Senior Reach’s sponsors include Mental Health Partners, Jefferson Center for Mental Health, and Seniors’ Resource Center.

To qualify for Senior Reach’s services, a person must be over the age of 60 and live within an independent setting in the Colorado counties served. Senior Reach’s services are strengths-based and person-centered and average around 10 sessions per client. This program targets seniors who do not seek services on their own behalf, but are referred by others who are concerned about the older adult. In affordable housing, services include home-based mental health services, coordinated care management, coaching around wellness issues/drug use and misuse, depression screening, and grief support. Senior Reach is an evidence-based program that measures outcomes through a process of baseline and follow-up screens. Proven outcomes include reduction in depression, social isolation, and emotional disturbance plus increased activities with others with improved level of functioning and optimism about future outcomes.

Senior Reach focuses on providing wellness classes at no cost to ensure access for residents of affordable housing communities. Since its start seven years ago, Senior Reach has offered classes at seven affordable housing communities as well as senior centers and senior meal sites. Teresa Legault, Senior Reach Program Manager, states, “By providing wellness classes that have a behavioral health focus at senior residences, we have been able to open a new entry door for seniors into support services like Senior Reach and HealthSET. This project has been enriched by the true partnership between Eaton Senior Communities, HealthSET and Senior Reach to make it work and be as successful as it is. Each entity carries its own weight; the partnership has helped to reduce the stigma that many seniors have to accessing behavioral health services, and sometime physical health services. Our partnership with ESC has been the most successful due to their willingness and ability to communicate with residents—residents have a voice, feel heard and they trust the ESC staff.”