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September 11, 2013

Seniors' breakfast to focus on mental health

(Continued)

“We can talk about socializing with other people and not becoming a hermit in their apartment,” she added. “Getting out to the Senior Center, staying self-engaged.”

Office for the Aging serves around 3,000 senior citizens across Clinton County. The office provides information for clients as well as a regular meals schedule, transportation opportunities and exercise classes, to name a few services.

“A lot of our programs are (preventive) programs,” Carter said, “programs designed to reduce the decline (of mobility and independence) in aging. Socializing, nutrition, exercise. All those things help with improved mental health as well as physical health.”

An estimated 15 to 20 percent of the senior population in any given area has some kind of mental-health problem, but as few as 2 percent of those seniors are receiving mental-health services.

“We want people to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression or anxiety disorder,” Gillette said. “If people are experiencing these signs and symptoms, then we want them to know how to access the health care that is available.

“We’re really looking to increase awareness.”

Frost agrees that regular exercise is important in keeping the body healthy as we age, but he also stresses the importance of having an active mind.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of both physical activity and challenging your mind in terms of having a successful aging process,” he said. “It’s important to try new challenges that you haven’t done before.”

Frost has developed a routine for doing crossword puzzles each day, and he also plans on learning to play a musical instrument during retirement.

He emphasizes the need for socialization as well, and will discuss the effects of social isolation.

“If you’re getting older and live alone, that’s an issue in itself, but if you don’t have the ability to drive a car, that can become a big problem in our rural area,” he said.

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