I have moderate depression because I can no longer work at my chosen life’s work as a teacher. The clinic sent me to a psychiatrist who said my type of depression doesn’t respond well to medication. They offered me 10 therapy sessions with a psychiatric social worker. Those sessions didn’t help either. The next offer was the Living Well program. I must say that I went reluctantly. I just felt that living well was beyond me. I have lived with allergies all my life. These turned to chronic bronchial asthma. Then I got pneumonia 3 years in a row trying to do winter time yard duty. Finally my school district decided that I couldn’t teach because it required yard duty and that made me lose work due to illness. I’m saying all of this to make the point that other things didn’t help with my depression.
The Living Well program got me beyond the feeling that life was over and I was useless. The materials Grace brought to us helped me to see that retirement didn’t mean doing nothing and staying home. The program not only gave me information, it also gave me the opportunity to discuss common problems with other disabled people who had problems and needed help. I began to realize that I could help others with many of the situations that I had gone through and still had a lot to give. I can be a teacher of both peer education and generational education. I now go to Living Well to share my personal experiences with those who are going through the problems that I have already struggled through. Living Well helped me to develop a goal of making sure that others also learn to live well not just exist.
I have worked with my local library to develop computer classes for seniors. I am advocating for increased funding for SSI at the legislature. I plan to advocate at the legislature in May for anti-hunger legislation and for more support for seniors. Grace has helped and supported me through all of these efforts. She has also supported my efforts to establish an “Empowering Elders” program at several local senior centers to inform new and existing seniors about all of the local programs that can get them out of their isolation and help them to live well along with me.