Patient Stories

PMC was created with the sole mission to improve the quality of life for older adults living in rural communities. We witness our programs changing lives across the nation and impacting not only our patients but their caregivers and families too. Through our Senior Life Solutions outpatient programs and our inpatient behavioral health division, we strive to provide the best possible clinical care and improve the overall health and wellbeing of our patients. Our work is mission driven and patient care focused. We invite you to join us on our journey and read just a sampling of the incredible success stories we have heard directly from the voices of our nurses, therapists, and patients themselves.

Here are a few of our favorites. Begin »

Overcoming Grief

A man approximately 80 years old self referred to our program. He was married 60 years and was widowed two years prior to his self-referral. His wife had passed in the family home with assistance of hospice. He had seen that Senior Life Solutions was opening a program nearby in the local paper and had clipped the article out and saved it for a few months until we opened. The day we opened, he called to sign up. This man was in complicated grief and our program was his first exposure to any mental health services.

His home was in the exact condition as when his wife had passed. Hospice bed, sheets still on it, and her personal supplies all untouched. He had closed the spare bedroom door and walked away from it. He had spent the last two years isolated and grieving the loss of his wife. She was his world, and his family did not know how to help him through his time of loss. He spent his days with his small dog and picked up cans on the sides of the highways and streets.

With the assistance of Senior Life Solutions, he donated his wife’s belongings and updated his home interior. He was able to work through the grief and find his new normal. He began to exercise, socialize, and focus on his own wellbeing.

His adult sons said, “Senior Life Solutions taught our dad to live again. We could not have expected more from the program because it brought back the version of our dad we used to know.”

He began to write letters, go to concerts, see movies, and go on trips. He even started dating and found new love. Life was good again for him. He glowed with anticipation when he shared his new life!

Reestablished Peace

A 90-year-old woman came to our Senior Life Solutions program angry, resentful, fearful, and isolated. She was in the program just six months, during which time she processed traumatic stress, learned and used some techniques to manage stress, and became very social with the other group members.

One day she asked me, “Do you mean I don’t have to be angry all the time? This group makes me think of things I haven’t thought about in decades.”

She told stories about her childhood and her family. She felt comfortable to share laughter and tears. We watched as the anger, resentment, and fear disappeared.

A Life Moving Forward

After 58-years of marriage, my husband died from colon cancer. He had successful surgery but couldn’t do the physical therapy. He just gave up. His last words to me were, “You’ll be alright.”

That was three years ago. I hadn’t cried since he died. He had made all the important decisions in our life together. We were very young but very optimistic when we got married. I was 18 and had never been on my own, and he was 19. We had three beautiful children and I thought life was good. I was not independent and he liked that. I compromised a lot to keep peace in our home. When he died, I was alone for the first time in my life. I was angry that he didn’t fight harder to stay alive for our children and for me. I had to make decisions that I knew nothing about. Our children were grown and had families of their own so I would lie to them and just say, “I’m fine”. I wasn’t.

My daughter is a registered nurse and had heard about the Senior Life Solutions program at the hospital where she works. I was depressed, becoming reclusive, and sleeping most of the time. She thought it might help me to call them. The program director came to my house to see me. She was so kind and understanding. I realized that I needed their help. For the first time, I felt comfortable talking about my life. I had never been to any professional counselor before but they made me feel at ease as I stumbled a little while telling my life story. I had become incapable of conversation. I was afraid and angry at the same time. I committed myself to welcoming help from the staff at Senior Life Solutions. They gave me my life back.

I had to force myself to set an alarm for 6:00 a.m. so I could be at group therapy by 9:00 a.m. That was a HUGE step for me. It was an hour drive for me, but I did it. I even started to look forward to my group sessions with the program therapist and my new friends. We all needed help to get on with our lives as we had all experienced different kinds traumas. We spilled our guts out to each other knowing that we wouldn’t be judged and that what we said would stay right there in that room. No guilt, no shame, and learning that we are good people. We discovered how to move forward with our lives.

I gained some confidence that I needed badly. During sessions with the program therapist, I learned that all the “compromising” I thought I was doing all those years, wasn’t a compromise at all. It was all very one sided: me keeping the peace for my family, me giving in instead of us each giving up a little to meet on a common ground. I sacrificed myself to keep my family together. My children are my blessings and worth every moment that I spent “compromising” with my late husband.

It has been three years since my husband died. While sitting in a group therapy session, I was able to finally let it all go and cry. What a release that was for me just to be able to let go and cry. My stress and anxiety levels went down as the group supported me while I let out blubbering sobs. I told them that I can’t cry like they do in the movies, I’m not pretty when I cry. They weren’t embarrassed about my carrying on and neither was I. I participated in group and individual therapy for eight months and now I am able to move forward with my life. I am set up to begin volunteering at the library and the elementary school this fall. They like me just the way I am… happy.

I didn’t think that I would ever feel happy again but, I have to say, it’s a wonderful feeling. My life is better now than it ever was before. I have learned how to take care of myself, both mentally and physically. I believe they go together hand in hand. In my depression, I wasn’t eating much, in turn that was making me fatigued. I have now learned how important diet is for both mental and physical health. I have become more aware of things around me. I’ve become more interested in so many things. I believe that there is magic in the art of conversation. I’ve learned the benefit in talking about things instead of dwelling and overthinking everything. I’m interested in living life now.

I’d like to thank the therapists, nurses, and doctors at Senior Life Solutions for giving me the courage to get up and make my bed every morning, put on my lipstick, move on with my life, embrace my personal happiness and share my journey with others. God is good.

Overall Health and Wellbeing is Important

We have a patient who has a lot of medical issues. One day she came to group and presented with stroke like symptoms. We rushed her to the ER for evaluation. Our Program Director stayed with her until her husband could get there. The ER doctor wanted to dismiss the stroke signs and symptoms as mental health issues, but our Program Director was adamant that she be sent for further testing. She was sent for further testing and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I am so happy we could be an advocate for her health.

No Longer Running from His Life

A patient in his mid 70’s came to our program with a history of childhood trauma, isolation, loneliness, and significant health issues. A coping strategy he developed from his earliest years was running. He quite literally has run for his life, all of his life. He had a violent marriage, plunging him deeper into depression and anxiety. He continues to log 10,000-15,000 steps per day, every day. He is both hearing and vision impaired, and his faithful dog is always at his side. He experienced severe nightmares, awakening in full blown panic. He was adamant that he would not give up his home, nor would he go into a care center.

He was our star patient, learning and teaching others in the group to use coping skills to manage panic attacks. He faithfully used our recommendations of grounding, deep breathing, thought stopping, and redirection with every panic attack. He reasoned that moving in with his son was probably in his best interest, and he completed that move over the summer. He recently graduated from the program after 13 months having almost eliminated his nightmares and panic attacks, confident that he is able to manage the ones that come moving forward.

A Reason to Live

One of my first patients was a man in his late 80’s whom I had known since I was a kid. He had a stroke and some other health issues leading to him being in a wheelchair and in a nursing home. I decided to visit him at the nursing home. As we talked, he told me when he was released from the nursing home he was going to go home, shut the garage, start the car, and sit in his car until he died. I cried and hugged him and said, “I think we can help you.”

We soon had him in Senior Life Solutions and he was here less than a year before transitioning out. He now resides in a handicap assessable apartment living on his own. We continue to monitor his aftercare scores and he is doing well. Senior Life Solutions worked for my friend/patient and I will be forever grateful.

A Safer Place

We had a patient who lived in a group home when she was first admitted to our program. As time went on, we were able to determine that there was some neglect going on in the group home. We collaborated with her family physician, caseworker, and family to find her a different placement in a nursing home. She is no longer in our program, but she is so happy to be in the nursing home and we were a huge part in making that happen.

Restored Quality of Life

An 86-year-old woman came to our program with complicated grief, depression, sleep problems, and eating problems. For the most part, she had confined herself to her bed. 18 years prior to joining our program, she lost her husband from a heart attack, and shortly after the loss of her husband she also lost her son to a heart attack.

She began every session tearful and unable to talk about her husband. She had not allowed herself to enjoy holidays or eat the food her husband had loved.

She worked 65 years as a nurse when she experienced a significant fall with a head injury. She was in our program for 17 months and during that time she worked very hard to build skills and process her loss. She was able to celebrate her husband’s birthday with the group, sharing his favorite chocolate cream pie and telling stories about the life they shared. She enjoyed her first Christmas in 18 years by decorating her house and cooking herself a special meal. She now volunteers with the hospital auxiliary, attends a weekly arthritis exercise class, and plans to rejoin her ladies quilting group.

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

We have a patient who socially isolated herself prior to coming to our program. She had no living family. Her husband passed away a few years ago and they did not have any children. She just graduated from our program last week and she is a new person.

She used to stay in her home all day doing nothing. Since being in our program, she got a dog and started volunteering three days a week at a meal site. She and another patient became good friends and now they spend a lot of time together, even taking weekend trips together! She also invited her friend from California to come visit for a week this past summer — she hadn’t seen her for 40 years. Now, she is planning on flying out to California herself. That would have never happened before Senior Life Solutions.