SEATTLE, Oct. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- At the time of year that seniors are most vulnerable emotionally, a free service to assist them is growing. The Home Visit Program is an initiative by Emeritus Senior Living that's designed to check on the wellbeing of older people. The program is being expanded at this time because the approaching holidays bring a greater risk of depression among seniors. Emeritus is the nation's largest assisted living and memory care provider; with more than 470 senior living communities in 44 states offering the Home Visit Program in their local areas.
To further encourage families to take advantage of the Home Visit Program, members of the public are now invited to directly contact their local Emeritus community to request a visit to an area senior. A listing of all Emeritus locations can be found at www.Emeritus.com/locations. This is a significant step for the initiative, which has primarily operated through referrals from agencies and emergency services providers since being launched in 2009.
"Just in the past year, our communities have conducted 22,000 home visits, so we know the need is great," said Emeritus Senior Living Executive Vice President of Quality Services, Budgie Amparo, R.N., M.S.N. "We encourage the public to contact us; we seek to make the program more easily accessible to a greater number of people."
Through the Home Visit Program, family members can arrange for an Emeritus expert to go to the home of an elderly loved one to see if he or she is doing well physically and psychologically. If appropriate, a nurse conducts an evaluation to help identify care needs. Emeritus then connects the senior and family with the proper resources and services to provide assistance.
"We may bring a hot meal, snack or dessert, and we also offer a listening ear and companionship," said Amparo. "Afterwards, if needed, we coordinate between families and community resources or we make recommendations. We may also follow up with additional visits, as requested by the family. All of what we do through the Home Visit Program is complimentary."
Emeritus decided to expand the Home Visit Program during the holiday season because of the increased likelihood of depression among the elderly at this time of year.
"About 20 percent of seniors suffer from full-scale depression or a less severe form of the condition and the holiday season can be particularly difficult," Amparo said.
Memories of happier holidays earlier in life can trigger depression. The loss of a spouse or close friends, physical distance from family, diminished physical capacity and health may be felt more keenly at this time.
"But most seniors know little about depression and they are unlikely to seek professional help for it," Amparo said. "Still, depression can cause them to eat less, turn to alcohol, stop taking care of their daily needs and even consider suicide. Knowing this, we felt it would be very important to expand the Home Visit Program during this season."
Offering the Home Visit Program as a free service to the public reflects a central philosophy at Emeritus, Amparo said.
"We are committed to the principle of 'safely somewhere,' which means we do what we can to ensure seniors are residing in safe environments that meet their needs, whether it is in the home or in a senior living setting. As the older population continues to grow, this crucial issue is affecting more and more individuals and families. It's one that we take very seriously."
About Emeritus Senior Living
Emeritus Senior Living is the nation's largest memory care and assisted living provider, with the ability to serve nearly 50,000 residents. More than 28,000 employees support more than 470 communities throughout 44 states coast to coast. Emeritus offers the spectrum of senior residential choices, care options and life enrichment programs that fulfill individual needs and promote purposeful living throughout the aging process. Its experts provide insights on senior living, care, wellness, brain health, caregiving and family topics at www.Emeritus.com, which also offers details on the organization's services. Emeritus is based in Seattle, Wash.; its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ESC.
Media Contact: MaryBeth Dagg
Emeritus Senior Living
SOURCE Emeritus Senior Living