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By Lillian B. Smith, M.S., D.P.C; Interim Director of Senior Services

 Wanda Jeffries and a PEARL client take advantage of the beautiful weather for a recent session.The Senior Services Department at Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) offers a variety of services, programs and opportunities to assist senior citizens with making informed choices in all areas of their lives. One service that supports their mental health is the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS).

PEARLS is offered through a collaboration with the Area Agency on Aging of the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission. The free, confidential and evidence-based coaching program helps seniors manage and reduce feelings of depression and isolation.

Using practical problem-solving strategies, exercise and social activity, PEARLS helps reduce these symptoms in older adults. Coaches work one-on-one with clients over the course of six-to-eight sessions to identify stressors and develop solutions. This approach gives individuals tools and strategies to effectively manage their emotions.

"Navigating stress and overwhelming issues can affect how you feel emotionally," said Lillian Smith, M.S., D.P.C., Interim Director of AIDB Senior Services. "But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right support, the cycle can be broken."