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January 28, 2014 > Senior Peer Counseling

Senior Peer Counseling

Submitted By Lis Cox

ÒSome days, I felt like I was losing my eyesight, losing my friends and family, and even losing my mind.Ó An 86 year old senior living in Fremont reported that she was worried and sad before she began receiving emotional support from the Tri-City Senior Peer Counseling Program. She called the Senior Help Line for help and received information about the program; the coordinator met with her, and a Senior Peer Counselor came to meet with her at her apartment.

The client has met with her Senior Counselor for six months and has shared many stories of her life, her family, and her hopes and fears. She has cried a little and laughed a little and says she felt Òa great sense of relief in getting things off her chest with a person she trusts.Ó Today she reports that she Òfeels much better having someone who listens and helps her keep it in perspective.Ó

The Tri-City Senior Peer Counseling Program has a 22-year history of helping seniors who are going through Òa rough patch.Ó The program helps seniors who are 55 years of age or older and live in Fremont, Newark or Union City. Seniors receive emotional support for stress, loneliness, anxiety, depression, loss and grief.

Counselors are warm, caring, seniors who may have also experienced some difficulties in their lives and want to be there for another senior who is in need. They receive 54 hours of training by a licensed counselor and learn how to listen well and support senior clients. The Counselors often report that they learn a great deal in the training and truly enjoy being able to give back to their community.

Seniors and their families can contact the Tri-City program through the City of Fremont Senior Help Line Ð (510) 574-2041. The service is confidential and a donation only service. No one is turned away for lack of funds. The Program Coordinator meets with clients in their homes to explain the services and ask clients about their lives and concerns. She then matches the senior with a Senior Peer Counselor who meets with the client regularly. The program has counselors from many backgrounds and can often make a match with primary language.

As one Peer Counselor told us, ÒWe all have times in our lives when the walls can start to close in and it is hard to find a window or door. Senior Peer Counselors help seniors find the emotional doors and windows.Ó

The Senior Peer Counseling Program is now interviewing for its annual training. Trainees are 50 plus and are interested in a meaningful opportunity to give back. You learn a great deal about yourself, active listening and emotional support.

Please contact Lis Cox, LMFT at (510) 574-2064 or lcox@fremont.gov.
This program is part of the City of FremontÕs Human Services Department.

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