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Ralph Tatman with the staff of the AMH Center for Senior Renewal.
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Tom Morgan at the piano in his Carrollton home.
ALTON — Many people, particularly older adults, get used to a certain way of life.
That way often isn’t the best — but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Thanks to the staff at Alton Memorial Hospital’s Center for Senior Renewal, life can take a dramatic turn for the better in individuals’ later years.
Tom Morgan, a retired music teacher from Carrollton, was under a psychiatrist’s care for depression for more than 20 years. After only a year at the Center for Senior Renewal, he was sold.
“I was helped by Senior Renewal more in one year than I had been with almost 25 years of medication,” Morgan said. “I was really impressed with everything. I had group sessions and also individual counseling. The group sessions were great, because the first thing that happened is they asked questions about answering phones or mail. Many people said they weren’t doing that anymore. Neither was I. Right then I knew I wasn’t the only one suffering from these problems and I didn’t feel so alone.”
Morgan admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but he got over that quickly.
“I was flabbergasted to be there because I didn’t know what it was about,” he said. “I had changed doctors and started seeing Dr. (Scott) Arbaugh. He got me to start coming to Senior Renewal right away.”
Arbaugh is the medical director for the AMH Center for Senior Renewal.
“Tom has been an active participant at Senior Renewal and an asset to other group members,” said Montana Brown, a therapist with Senior Renewal. “His hard work at overcoming obstacles has been an inspiration to others on his path to optimal mental health.”
Tom has taken the necessary steps to gain insight into his illness and develop healthy coping strategies,” said Cindy Rublaitis, another Senior Renewal therapist. “Tom has shown other group members kindness and caring while struggling with difficult events in his life. Tom is a pleasure to have in group therapy.”
Morgan said that he’s well past the point of “taking a lot of pills and walking around like a zombie. I’m able to play my music and do a lot of crafts. Everything is so much better now. It’s been a totally new experience.”
Bethalto man feels at home
Ralph Tatman, 57, of Bethalto, has battled with anger issues for as long as he can remember. He was diagnosed bipolar several years ago and then with end-stage COPD leading him into hospice. Despite all that, his two years with the AMH Center for Senior Renewal have helped him to improve his coping skills.
“I always had a rough background, but everyone at Senior Renewal is very good and very professional,” Tatman said. “I don’t argue with my wife anymore, and that has always been a problem.
“You really get to feel a bond with the staff. I was coming as often as three times a week. At the end of July, I felt it was time that I didn’t need to come anymore. But I know they are here if I need them again. I can’t do all the things I would like because of my health, but they made me feel like I want to get out and help so I would like to get a volunteer job somewhere. I would recommend Senior Renewal to anyone who thinks they need it.”
Senior Renewal’s experienced and specially trained team cares for older adults with a variety of mental health issues. The staff works closely with families to provide both education and necessary support for the patient. Patients can access care in a variety of ways. They can refer themselves, a friend or family member can refer, or a patient can be referred by his or her physician. For information, call The Center for Senior Renewal at (618) 463-7895.