Outreach program helps frail seniors live well at home

January 19, 2017

Barbara has moved multiple times since she lost her home to a devastating fire in 2008, and Providence has been with her every step of the way.

Barbara is socially isolated and suffers from physical and mental health issues due to her obesity and a history of abuse. She counts on weekly support provided by the Providence Senior Outreach Program – a community benefit service of Providence medical centers in the San Fernando Valley.

Trained volunteers promote whole person health

The program’s trained volunteers help homebound older adults learn coping skills to transition through aging issues such as loss and grief, poor health or retirement. In addition to peer counseling, volunteers also help with shopping, preparing meals and transportation. This kind of hands-on support makes all the difference for the community’s frail seniors, and as a result, surveys show an average 43 percent improvement in mood. 

While Barbara still struggles with improving her physical health, she has made significant improvements in her mental health. With newfound strength and resilience, she has gone back to school to complete her master’s in psychology, and maintains a high GPA in spite of her health issues. She says she wants to become a counselor because of the compassionate care and services she received from Providence. 

Program helps 500 seniors in 2015

In 2016, the program served about 400 older adults with more than 5,500 volunteer hours. Through a total community benefit investment of more than $200,000 in 2016, Providence helps seniors stay healthy and independent at home. The program is a direct response to Providence’s community health needs assessment, which found that access to affordable outpatient counseling services was an area of great need.