BETHEL — “The Stress of Aging: Growing Old is Not for Sissies,” will be presented from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Bethel Congregational Church, 32 Church St. Snow date is April 11.

Six panelists will participate: Ellen Crocker, M.Ed.; Jane Chandler, RN-BSN; Brie Weisman, OTR/L; the Rev. Dr. Tim LeConey; Wendy Youmans, LCSW; and Karen Reilly, ScD. The program is sponsored by To Your Health of Western Mountains Senior College.

Crocker, a practicing psychotherapist for more than 40 years prior to retirement, will serve as moderator. She said, “Growing old brings physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual challenges. How do we face them and still retain a sense of well being and serenity?” The panel will look at each of these challenges and invite the audience to share their wisdom.

Chandler and Weisman will cover the challenges of physical changes that add to stress in aging. Chandler, who recently retired after 24 years as a staff nurse with Androscoggin Home Healthcare & Hospice, will discuss internal organs, how one’s body responds to changes more slowly, and medications that affect the body’s response to some of these changes.

Weisman, who has a master’s in occupational therapy and a certificate in home modification, will focus on the normal aging process. Her goal is to help participants have a better understanding and awareness of what to expect as their bodies change and to age as safely as possible.

Youmans, a licensed clinical social worker and a 500-hour Kripula yoga teacher, will speak to the emotional side of stress in aging, such as isolation, financial insecurity, grief, housing and depression/anxiety. She will offer suggestions to help overcome the challenges.

Reilly, who recently retired from a long career researching national quality of care among the elderly, will address socialization issues that add to stress in aging. She is involved in the Bethel area’s Age Friendly Community initiative, where she serves on the transportation board and as a volunteer Neighbor-to-Neighbor driver. She will discuss the program along with other ways to help seniors maintain a connection with others.

LeConey, pastor of the West Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, has always had an interest in ministry to older people. He completed a unit of clinical pastoral education at a geriatric facility and a doctoral project on the formation of a pastoral care team to connect and serve elderly people in the Fryeburg area. He will focus on the spiritual needs of the aging population and talk about some helpful resources in the wide community.

The program is sponsored as a community service by To Your Health of WMSC with the collaboration of the Bethel Family Health Center and SAD 44/Continuing Education. The public is invited and admission is free. Light refreshments will be available.

For more information, call Peter Musso at 207-890-7034.

From left are Brie Weisman, Wendy Youmans, Jane Chandler and Ellen Crocker. Absent are Karen Reilly and Tim LeConey.


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