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Counselors for senior citizens needed 

Counselors for senior citizens needed

Counselors for senior citizens needed

Local agency offers senior peer counselor training starting Aug 15

Local non-profit Senior Peer Counseling, part of Wilshire Community Services and funded by the Mental Health Services Act will be holding their annual training beginning August 13th. With the increase of seniors living in our communities, we have an increased need to support these individuals in specialized ways. Due to the stresses associated with the aging process, many older adults struggle to maintain mental wellness. For over twenty-five years, Senior Peer Counseling has been helping older adults in San Luis Obispo to navigate the difficulties that often accompany aging. To become a Peer Counselor, volunteers complete an extensive three month training which delves deep into the aging process and covers such topics as; impacts on mental health, the physical aspects of aging, best practices when counseling older adults, etc . Through the training, one can become educated in the aging process from a physical, mental, and health perspective. This is an opportunity to educate yourself from the highest levels of experts in the field, including respected professionals in the San Luis Obispo community in the fields of mental health and aging.

Once an individual has gone through the Senior Peer Counseling Training, they are certified as Peer Counselors and can begin working with other seniors in the community who would benefit from counseling. Prior counseling experience is not required; volunteer opportunities are readily available for individuals who are interested in learning and using what they have learned to help others . Volunteer requirements are as follows: one must be 55 years or older, be available for in person visits to a client’s home one hour a week, and attend a group supervision led by a mental health professional once a week for 2 hours. Supervision groups meet regionally and clients are assigned based on your desired service area.

For those living in the North County who are interested in becoming a Senior Peer Counselor, carpooling options and mileage reimbursement are available to alleviate the resources needed to travel to the training being held in San Luis Obispo. Volunteer Counselors not only benefit from the free specialized training and mileage reimbursement, but also weekly professional supervision, on-going training opportunities, and enjoy camaraderie with fellow Counselors.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to keep growing, learning, and contributing in your community. Stay connected and share your experiences with others in your Senior Peer Counseling cohort. Training begins August 13th, 2013 and ends October 29th, 2013. Training sessions occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 – 4:00pm. The official graduation celebration for the completed volunteer trainees occurs on October 31st at the Madonna Inn.

For more information about Senior Peer Counseling or to schedule an interview please contact Traci Mello at or call (805) 547-7025 ext. 15.

Facts About Older Adults and Mental Health

• An estimated 20% of older adults experience depression
• Older adults with significant depression have total health care costs that are roughly 50% higher than those without depression.
• Depression is not a normal part of aging; treatment works for about 80% of individuals experiencing symptoms of depression.
• 43% of all elders age 65+ do not have enough income to meet their basic needs. This financial burden can create heightened stress levels and an increased risk of mental health concerns.
• Today, 44 percent of Americans between the ages of 45 and 55 have both living parents and children under 21 years old. In fact, 22 million Americans are caring for parents or older relatives, according to the AARP. The role of caregiver can cause stress and strain on mental wellness for both the caregiver and the care recipient.

Facts About Senior Peer Counseling

• Senior Peer Counseling trains volunteers over the age of 55 to provide in-home counseling to seniors age 60 and older. The program is designed for seniors who are at a crossroad in their lives and a need a caring, non-judgmental person to talk to as they navigate the challenges of grief, loss, depression and other life changes.
• Senior Peer Counseling has been operating in San Luis Obispo under various non-profit agencies since 1992.
• In 2003, Senior Peer Counseling became a part of Wilshire Health and Community Services, Inc., a San Luis Obispo based not-for profit, public benefit corporation. ( Wilshire provides a wide range of services including home health, hospice care, nursing, rehabilitation and community services for the elderly.



About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.