From the Perspectives Newsletter: Grant from Daughters of Charity helps improve lives of seniors

From the Summer 2017 Perspectives Newsletter

A grant from the Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis will allow Places for People to improve and enhance outcomes and life experiences for senior citizens living with severe mental illness.

Through the “Improving outcomes for seniors with mental illness,” project, Places for People will enhance services provided to seniors, and will also include a robust research component.

The project aligns with one of The Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis’ five focus areas – seniors living independently.

The Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis is in its 20th year of investing in area non-profit organizations that serve the materially poor and vulnerable. The foundation has funded more than $32
million in grants.

The foundation has funded several projects at Places for People focusing on seniors in the past, and most recently provided a grant supporting legal services for refugee survivors of torture and war trauma in 2015.

This one-year, $50,000 grant helps support Places for People’s efforts to improve outcomes for its senior population.

In the past year, Places for People has used data to inform the way it provides services to seniors.

In 2015 and 2016, Places for People’s Research and Development Team and Co-Clinical Director Barb Zawier examined the organization’s service-delivery model for seniors with serious mental illness.

This analysis produced recommendations that were implemented in late 2016. Two community support teams now focus solely on serving seniors. Seniors at Places for People are defined as anyone who is 50 or older.

Places for People’s senior treatment teams assist individuals in managing illnesses, maintaining independence, and building social supports to ensure a high quality of life.

Typical assistance includes helping with medication management; facilitating connections to psychiatric and medical care; setting goals; accessing social and recreational opportunities; and assisting in maintaining (or accessing) independent living arrangements. Through a partnership with Saint Louis University, a geriatric psychiatry clinic is available two afternoons a week for seniors at Places for People.

Additionally, this project focuses on decreasing incidences and severity of depression through the building of appropriate support systems. PfP will solicit feedback from seniors to develop socialization activities in the community. These activities will promote healthy interactions,with a goal of decreasing incidences of depression.

The project will also include a significant research component, collecting data to assess loneliness, depression, recovery orientation, participation in social/recreational activities, mental status, and a health assessment, as well as incidence of hospitalizations/ER visits.

The data gained from the research component will guide future service delivery and the unique needs for seniors living with severe mental illness, with the possibility of serving as a model for other organizations.