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County program provides resources for senior citizens

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Posted at 9:39 PM, Jun 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-22 23:39:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY --  A program in Salt Lake City is promoting the mental health and personal development of senior citizens.

The goal of the Vital Aging Project is to help senior citizens as they navigate through their twilight years. The project is run by Salt Lake County.

Rhonda Busch of the Vital Aging Project said the program focuses on ways to help the elderly.

“To meet the needs of older adults, the unique challenges that seniors face, and the services are provided on site at the senior centers to make them more accessible to the seniors,” she said.

The program connects seniors with mental health professionals and it helps seniors get together for classes designed to help them. Tifani Holloway is a licensed mental health therapist, and she said the classes and programs have a specific focus.

“Each theme is research based, and we have curriculum that has been written out and researched and designed, and the theme is picked based on each group, each center, and the participants choose the theme for that month,” Holloway said.

The program began in 2009, and Busch said it has already been recognized for its success.

"We will receive a national award for the Vital Aging Project, and we will receive that award in July at the end of the month,” she said.

Holloway said the program helps seniors adjust and stay on top of things.

"I see a lot of difference in the sense that it builds confidence in the individual,” she said. “It helps maintain independence, and also it promotes a better quality of life as older people begin to adjust with the changes that come with aging."

Kent Jarvis is one man who participated in the program, and he said it’s helpful to speak to people who know what he’s going through.

"It's a big help to me to be with the other people in the class because they're experiencing, or have experienced, what I'm going to experience, so it's kind of like a support group I guess,” he said.

Diane Titze also participated in the program, and she said she found it helpful.

"We need wellness at all stages, certainly this last stage that we go through--well it isn't actually the last stage, but we're nearing that,” she said. “We need to find out what things to expect and how we can react to them most effectively. This has been a great class."