Judy Collins Delivers Keynote at UCC-Related Phoebe Institute on Aging Conference
Legendary folk singer, artist, and author Judy Collins graced the Phoebe Institute on Aging (PIA) spring conference with a candid and touching discussion of her personal challenges with loss, addiction, depression, and healing. “Understanding Mental Health and Older Adults” focused on the types, causes, and detection of mental illness in seniors, and Collins as the keynote speaker sought to spread light and inspiration on a topic sometimes kept in the shadows.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health problems are under-identified by health care professionals and older adults themselves, and the stigma surrounding these conditions makes people reluctant to seek help. As adults age, they face a variety of challenges from dementia to chronic physical pain. There are also challenges associated with loss: loss of a spouse or loved one, loss of one’s freedom, and loss of one’s physical or cognitive abilities.
During her talk, Collins drew on her own experiences of losing her son to suicide, her own addiction to alcohol and struggle with depression, and her ultimate spiritual renewal. She used her personal story to comfort survivors and to educate those who work and care for older adults so they may better deal with these challenges.
The PIA conference also included sessions presented by geriatric professionals specializing in topics such as addiction, cognitive impairment, trauma, depression, suicide, and the moral injuries faced by many veterans.
Session speakers included Reps. Steve Samuelson and Justin Simmons, who serve on the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee for Pennsylvania; Psychologist Renee Cantwell, Ed.D., from Easton Neuropsychology and Behavioral Services LLC; Ming Wang, M.D., and Devon Dautrich, Ph.D., from Caron Treatment Centers; Thomas Applebach, M.P.A., Director of the Lehigh County Office of Veterans Affairs; and Cindy Richart, Vice President of Pharmacy Operations with Shane Lawrence, Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services, from Phoebe Pharmacy.
UCC-related Phoebe Ministries, based in Allentown, Pa., launched the Phoebe Institute on Aging in 2001. The PIA is a forward-focused program which provides forums for discussion and learning, including educational programs, cooperative ventures, and outreach activities designed to promote improved quality of life and care for the aging and their families. The PIA was created in recognition of more than a century of caring for older adults at Phoebe. Guided by a community advisory board and committees, the PIA works diligently to ensure that the greater community has opportunities for engagement and resources available to best serve the aging and their families. Conferences held by the PIA attract key figures in the disciplines and communities associated with aging services, including CEOs, legislators, and award-winning scholars. The fall conference, “West Greets East: Alternative Approaches to Aging,” will be held on October 17, 2019.
Reprinted with Permission.
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