Do you know the difference between signs and symptoms of aging and mental illness? Have you ever wondered whether that moment of “forgetfulness” was a sign of dementia? Just what is typical aging, and when should you be concerned that behavioral changes signal something more?
Experts estimate that 20 percent of adults ages 55 and older experience some type of mental health concern.
As part of its ongoing Lunch and Learn series to reduce the stigma of mental illness and to help Southern Arizona congregations better help people affected by mental illness, Interfaith Community Services is presenting “Mental Health and Aging” from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Congregation Anshei Israel, 5550 E. Fifth St. Registration is $10 prepaid and includes kosher lunch. Register online at www.icstucson.org.
The featured speaker is Terri Waldman, LMSW and director of gero psych services for Tucson Medical Center. Waldman has more than 20 years of experience providing services, advocacy and leadership in the field of aging in Pima County.
A question-and-answer session will include panelists Pam Wessel, director of services at the Pima Council on Aging, and the Rev. Cliff Blinman from St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church.
Wessel will share community resources for the older adult population, and Blinman will offer a faith perspective and share his personal story.
ICS Mental Health Outreach Specialist Veda Kowalski cites statistics saying that adults ages 65 and older are more likely than those ages 50-64 to report they rarely or never receive the social or emotional support they need, which is a big motivation for presenting this Lunch and Learn.
“At ICS, we want to fulfill that role,” Kowalski said. “We want to support people in our faith communities to become aware of what mental illness looks like, to understand the challenges that exist for people who are coping with it and to share community resources. This event is to give people awareness of the most prevalent issues that older adults may come across, either for themselves or a family member, and to equip them with useful information.”
The Lunch and Learn is made possible with funding from the David and Lura Lovell Foundation and the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona. The event is open to faith community leaders, lay leaders, teachers, and anyone with an interest in learning more about mental health and aging.
About ICS: ICS provides food, job-search assistance, and emergency financial assistance to Pima County residents in need and mobilizes volunteers to provide seniors and disabled individuals with Mobile Meals, transportation, home repairs, calls and visits, and health and safety referrals. Services also include whole health and mental health outreach and education. ICS offers compassionate support by connecting nearly 700 volunteers and 75 faith community partners with our community’s most vulnerable residents. From nutritious food to health evaluations to a ride to the doctor’s office, ICS helps more than 36,000 people a year. ICS has received Charity Navigator’s highest rating of four stars five years in a row for its fiscal responsibility and best practices.
Waldman, Wessel and Blinman are available for interviews. Please contact Shelley Shelton at 297-6049, ext. 229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
IF YOU GO:
What: ICS Lunch and Learn on Mental Health and Aging
When: Noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 22
Where: Congregation Anshei Israel, 5550 E. Fifth St.
Cost: $10 per person, includes lunch
To register: Go online to www.icstucson.org. Advance registration is required.