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Agencies Team Up To Offer Mental Health Support

Agencies Team Up to ‘Spark Joy’ During Mental Health Awareness, Older American Months

AARP, Area Agency on Aging and Healing Solutions Counseling at JFS Offering Virtual Programming

Three Western North Carolina agencies are teaming up to offer ideas to “spark joy” for older adults who may be feeling down due to isolation and dealing with depression and anxiety due to the Covid-19 pandemic or other reasons.

Area Agency on Aging, AARP Mountain Region and Healing Solutions Counseling at JFS are offering a three-part virtual series, “Sparking Joy: Exploring New Possibilities,” on May 5, 12 and 19 starting at 10 a.m. The series is designed to focus on our present moment and try something new to help increase a sense of self-confidence and improve brain health. Each virtual event is free and open to the public, although intended for older adults.

The three events are intended to coincide with Older Americans Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, both of which fall in May. Older Americans Month is led by the Administration for Community Living. The theme for 2021 is “Communities of Strength.” Mental Health Awareness Month spotlights the importance of mental health and the reduction of stigma around mental health challenges.

To register in advance, go to https://aarp.cvent.com/SparkingJoy.

Participants can watch each event live on the Facebook page for Jewish Family Services of WNC (www.facebook.com/JFSWNC), which is the parent organization for Healing Solutions Counseling at JFS, and the AARP North Carolina YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeCBIuEXYahHOq_OvavYMwg).

Other organizations and programs scheduled to participate in the “Sparking Joy” series include Bullington Gardens, a partnership of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension and Henderson County Public Schools; North Carolina Cooperative Extension; NAMI Western Carolina; and the Jewish Family Services of WNC Elder Club Group Respite Program.

Please see below for descriptions of each program.

Spice it Up Wednesday, May 5

There’s nothing quite like cooking to spice up your life! Rachel Kalin, the chef for Jewish Family Services of WNC’s Elder Club Program, shares the ways she uses different ingredients to bring joy into the kitchen. Chef Rachel will prepare an easy, healthy dish to brighten your mood. Cathy Hohenstein, a registered dietician with N.C. Cooperative Extension, will join us to talk about the food-mind connection and the impact a Mediterranean diet can have on health.

Digging the Dirt
Wednesday, May 12
Whether you’re nurturing a small dish garden or tending a large vegetable plot, gardening can be rewarding and bring great joy. Join John Murphy, a registered horticultural therapist and the Education Director at Bullington Gardens in Hendersonville, as we learn about how gardening can alleviate stress and improve mood.

Game On!
Wednesday, May 19
An exploration of the increasing number of older adults who find fun through gaming. This segment intends to provide an overview of the growing popularity of both video and modern tabletop board games. Join us on a journey of moving beyond misconceptions and explore a world of strategy, imagination and fun.

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