St. Luke’s Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program raising awareness of heart/mental health connection

By Dr. Travis Green, MD 

St. Luke’s Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program is working to raise awareness of the connection between heart health and emotional health. Heart-related health concerns come with many physical symptoms ranging from chest pain or discomfort to shortness of breath; however, the symptoms do not stop at physical.

Many people suffering from heart disease or other heart-related problems often struggle with psychological or emotional symptoms. These symptoms can include depression caused by an inability to do the activities they were once able to do, or anxiety caused by the fear of a repeat episode. Many studies show there is a direct correlation between heart health and mental health, and each can have an effect on the other. 

Signs and symptoms of heart problems, while different for men and women, can include:

Chest discomfort

Indigestion, Heartburn, Stomach Pain, or Nausea

Pain that spreads to the arm

Lightheadedness and Fatigue

It’s easy to understand why heart patients may face anxiety or depression, but it’s important to handle these issues in a healthy way. It’s important to discuss how a patient is feeling, both physically and mentally, with a healthcare provider. Patients will be asked their smoking history, mood levels and enjoying activities.  Whether the patient is clinically depressed or just anxious, they will need follow up care.

Senior Life Solutions program is an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression often related to aging.  The mission of Senior Life Solutions is to restore the quality of life for older adults.

Individuals may benefit from the Senior Life Solutions program if they are experiencing any of the following common indicators or triggers:    

  • Recently experienced a traumatic event 
  • Lost a spouse or close family member 
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Loss of energy 
  • Feelings of sadness or grief lasting more than two weeks 
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness 

Following an individual assessment, patients meet three times per week in a supportive, encouraging group setting. The program staff includes a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed social workers, a registered nurse, and other professionals dedicated to the emotional well-being of the seniors in our community. 

For more information, call the St. Luke’s Hospital Senior Life Solutions program at 828-894-9890. 

About Senior Life Solutions 

Dr. Travis Green is a board-certified psychiatrist with more than 30 years’ experience. He is medical director for Psychiatric Medical Care (PMC). Founded in 2003, PMC operates inpatient and outpatient programs located in rural communities across the country. 

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