WEST ORANGE, NJ - With daylight growing shorter and holiday decorations beginning to adorn stores, it can be a sensitive time for seniors. Already more prone to depression than the young people, the problem can be exacerbated for those worrying about how the circumstances and processes of aging may change the coming holiday season. Emeritus at West Orange’s “BluesBusters” will be out in force in October to help local seniors not only survive the holidays, but thrive.

Depression affects 15% of Americans over age 65, according to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation; this figure is five percentage points higher than the incidence in the overall population. 

"From experience, we know that for seniors, this time of year can be a trigger,” said Ross Friedman, executive director of Emeritus at West Orange “Increased hours of darkness can lower their spirits. Additionally, they may be thinking about how the inability to travel will keep them from spending the holidays with family. For those who have lost spouses or others dear to them, they might be worrying about getting through seasonal festivities without their loved ones at their side.”

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To combat the problem, the “BluesBusters,” a group of professionals from Emeritus at West Orange, will be visiting area seniors in their homes this month to conduct a complimentary emotional wellness check, providing tools and resources to engage them in activities known to fight depression.

“These include exercise, which is a natural mood elevator; activities that give a mental and physical lift; and socializing,” said Friedman, noting that numerous studies have shown engagement with other people improves health mentally and physically.

As part of the BluesBusters’ initiative, the seniors will be invited to take part in six free activities and events at Emeritus at West Orange, such as exercise and art classes, concerts, parties and dining opportunities.

The BluesBusters effort is part of Emeritus at West Orange’s complimentary Home Visits program, in which the community’s professionals periodically visit area seniors in their homes to provide companionship and support. This outreach reflects the central operating philosophy of ‘Safely Somewhere’ of Emeritus Senior Living, parent organization of Emeritus at West Orange.

“Through this philosophy, we strive to do all we can to ensure that seniors are living in safe, meaningful environments, whether they reside at our community, in their long-time homes, or somewhere else,” said Friedman. In the past year, Emeritus Senior Living communities nationwide have conducted more than 70,000 free Home Visits.

 If you would like to recommend an area senior for a visit by the BluesBusters, contact Emeritus at West Orange at 973-325-5700 orWestOrange-CRD@Emeritus.com.           

About Emeritus Senior Living

Emeritus Senior Living is the largest assisted living and memory care provider in the United States, with the ability to serve nearly 54,000 residents. More than 31,000 employees support approximately 510 communities throughout 45 states coast to coast. Emeritus offers the spectrum of senior residential choices, care options, and life enrichment programs that fulfill individual needs and promote purposeful living during the aging process. Senior living service offerings include independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, home health care, and rehabilitation services. Emeritus experts provide insights on senior living, care, wellness, brain health, and family topics at www.emeritus.com, which also offers details on the organization's family-focused philosophy and services. Emeritus' common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ESC.