Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

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Senior Vitality Group connects seniors with community, each other

6/1/2020 by Denise Morcomb, LICSW, and Marcia Johnson, LICSW

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Aging can take a toll on body, mind and spirit. Health issues, loss of loved ones and friends, and disconnecting from community can lead to depression, anxiety and isolation. But the Senior Vitality Group, a six-week series of one-hour sessions can help address these issues and bring benefits that last beyond the series. 

The Senor Vitality Group is designed especially for those 60 and older who receive their health care through Primary Care in Rochester/Kasson. Content of the one-hour sessions is based on proven cognitive behavioral therapy techniques ranging from scheduled worry to personal skills building to Tai Chi to movement and balance. To participate, you'll need a referral from your primary care provider. 

Sessions are planned throughout the rest of 2020: 

  • June 29-August 31, Primary Care Clinic Northeast
  • Second summer session and fall session to be announced

The Senior Vitality Group meets Mondays at 3 p.m. Topics for the sessions include: 

  • Week 1. Quality of Life: Aging 101, holistic living, concept of vitality and legacy. 
  • Week 2. Resource Fair: "Everything You Wanted to Know About Senior Services" booklet, health care directives, home health agencies, Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living, goal setting and to-do lists. 
  • Week 3. Exploring Social and Support systems, Safety and Scams. 
  • Week 4. Mental and Cognitive Health: Emotional well-being, caregiver burnout, grief and loss, depression and anxiety, substance abuse, cognitive impairment/dementia, coping through mindfulness, grounding and relaxation. 
  • Week 5. Physical health: Natural changes in the body, impact of illness, medications, alcohol, pain, accessing resources — such as home health, Meals on Wheels, hospice. 
  • Week 6. Spirituality and Resilience: Role of faith, generativity/contributing, legacy, finding meaning, transcendence, group feedback to facilitators. 

Through these sessions, seniors become more informed, less worried about their future, and often energized to take charge of, rather than deny, that they're aging. They also give seniors someone besides their adult children to talk with about these issues. As a result, some have joined 125 Live for senior activities. Two attendees also created a monthly group that meets at Elder Network for ongoing social support, and we refer our graduating members to that community group. 

If you're interested, contact your primary care team or provider. 

Denise Morcomb, LICSW, MSW, is an Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) therapist. She's based at Primary Care Clinic Northeast and has more than 15 years' experience working in a number of social work settings, including hospice. 

Marcia Johnson, LICSW, is a social worker/therapist in IBH at Primary Care Clinic Southeast and has worked for 20 years in psychiatry and behavioral health at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She runs groups for senior vitality, as well as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for depression and anxiety.