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Senior Center Supports Aging Sumter Residents

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Aging has benefits, but oftentimes we associate aging more with what can be very disconcerting losses. Diminished hearing or sight, a waning of strength or flexibility and even retirement can be as devastating as can losing independence or freedom due to a fall or illness. Losses of beloved spouses or one’s own children, too, often carry tremendous heartbreak.

Experiencing one or more of these losses can significantly affect a person’s ability to connect with even loved ones. Once connections are broken, it’s all too easy to slip into depression or anxiety, or to simply be overwhelmed by grief. Unfortunately, the very ones who are often struggling fail to realize they have a problem. Worse, many simply assign these painful losses to the aging process without ever adressing the significant underlying loss.

That’s why Tuomey Healthcare System, in partnership with the Premier Care group, created the Senior Life Improvement Center in 2012, The center reaches out to geriatrics who are struggling with issues including grief, anxiety or illness.

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The center’s Director Lefford Fate is a man on a mission. He wants people who are feeling isolated or depressed to find a way to reconnect to the people and things that bring them pleasure. “Before television, we used to sit around and actually talk to each other,” he said. “We’d laugh and share stories. It was all about ‘community.’ We were connected. We don’t really take the time to talk anymore.”

Fate not only worries that deep connections are jeopardized by today’s fast-paced society, but also that the aging may find themselves with fewer social outlets. It’s a world where being less tech-savvy or technology frustrated can result in someone being out of the loop.

“Think about using voicemail when you can’t hear,” he said. “Technology can cause a great deal of anxiety. But also, these are people who once had status — they held a job or ran things or had responsible positions. Now they may feel like they don’t have anything left to contribute. They just want to feel relevant again.”

According to Fate the Senior Life Improvement Center helps people get through whatever they’re facing and adjust to the changes for a better overall quality of life. And doing that can mean dealing with a wide variety of changes — from military veterans experiencing the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder to people coping with the loss of a spouse without the support of close-by family. Yet, whatever the loss or problem, the Senior Life Improvement Center is here and ready to help.

The Senior Life Improvement Center is located at 219 North Washington Street in?Sumter. For more information about the center or services, please call 803.774.2634.