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Posted by Positive Aging SourceBook on 08/13/2018

Counseling and Life Coaching Help For Elders

Laurie always looks forward to her trips to the deli with Beth. Laurie and Beth are not long-time friends or close relatives, but their relationship is a vital part of both of their lives. For Laurie in particular, their relationship has made these seemingly routine visits to the deli possible for the first time in years.

Laurie is a resident at Alfred House, a group of six, small assisted living homes in Montgomery County. She has a history of psychiatric problems. Unfortunately, as is common place, her once manageable difficulties have become more prevalent with age. Laurie’s aggressive behaviors were becoming disruptive and self-destructive.

Dr. Veena Alfred, the owner and operator of Alfred House, knew that Laurie, and other residents like her, needed additional assistance. When Dr. Alfred contacted Beth Albaneze, the sole proprietor of House Calls, LLC, she found the help her residents needed. House Calls provides counseling, life coaching, and emotional support to individuals in their home environment. In assisted living communities, House Calls has been able to create a sense of normalization in an environment that can feel somewhat isolating for seniors with psychiatric disorders. Even though opportunities for involvement are readily available in the communities, residents with disorders may require more one-on-one attention to adjust to their new community and become involved.

In addition to coaching and counseling residents, Beth also provides training to staff members at assisted living communities like Alfred House. Her training helps staff members create quality recreation programs to get more residents involved. Staff members also learn how to identify residents who need individualized attention.

Beth now meets with Laurie once a week to provide one-on-one socialization. Laurie’s mental and emotional health has improved dramatically since she started receiving coaching from Beth.

As the two women leave the community on their way to the nearby deli, Laurie cheerfully yells out to the staff, “I’m going out with Beth today and will be back later.” Beth has been able to establish a rapport with Laurie, enabling her to trust again and giving her a positive outlet for what would normally be aggressive behavior.

Laurie’s improved mood is demonstrated by her new motivation to wear jewelry, lipstick, and brightly colored clothing. When asked how a life coach enhances her life at Alfred House, she replies, “I have a friend who cares, and I have something of my own to do.” She smiles as she adds, “Maybe I’ll sign up for J-date.”

As Laurie and Beth make their way back from her favorite deli with leftover chopped liver and gefilte fish, Laurie remarks, “It’s been years since I’ve had lox like I just had at the deli.” Her excitement over good food and pleasant company is genuine and heartfelt. For Laurie, life coaching has created the opportunity to really live again. With a true appreciation for the good days, Laurie looks toward a future which is hopefully filled with many such days.

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