By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Maintaining good mental health can become increasingly challenging as we age. This is just one of many issues that is addressed in informational programs in conjunction with the Shrewsbury Community Reading Project – “Dancing Around the Hard Topics!”
The Community Read is sponsored by the Shrewsbury Public Library, Residence at Orchard Grove, Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services, Elder Services of the Worcester Area, the Friends of the Shrewsbury Public Library and Shrewsbury Public Library Foundation.
The project centers on the book, “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” a New York Times Bestseller by Dr. Atul Gawande.
The Residence at Orchard Grove hosted “Maintaining Good Mental Health in Later Life” on Oct. 22. Christine Mowry, executive director of Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services, facilitated the session along with Dr. Alan Cusher, Ph.D., a Shrewsbury-based licensed psychologist.
“The book’s author Dr. Atul Gawande has a very simple message… to understand that your life does not go on forever, you’re not immortal, you are mortal and that rather than pushing things that you want to do or that you need to do, you should think of them, and do them now,” Cusher said.
“Why are we focusing on older adults?” Mowry inquired. “It’s a quickly growing population and there have been so many advances in health care and people are living much longer than they used to. There are some unique issues that we see in later life,”
Mowry’s presentation included recognizing the signs of depression and anxiety and the associated problems of social isolation and substance abuse. She also addressed suicide in the older population, its markers and how to intervene and seek help.
“As far as the Community Reading Project goes, I love the whole idea of this project… I further like the aspect of combining both, how do you live life to the fullest fun events as well as these topics and hard discussion, and for this event today, about good mental health later in life, really resonates with our residents,” remarked Kelly Landini, Director Of Business Development, for LCB Senior Living, LLC, who own the Residence at Orchard Grove.
For a full list of Community Read programs remaining, visit https://shrewsburyma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5729/Dancing-Around-the-Hard-Topics-three-fold-brochure.