PEARLS is one of only a handful of programs that focuses on helping older adults develop the skills they need to maintain their health, happiness, and independence. The program is part of a cultural shift in how depression is managed by and for aging community members. Most programs address depression and anxiety in older adults using only the clinical mental health toolkit (counseling and/or medication), while PEARLS focuses on skill building.
PEARLS coaches (the name we give staff) meet one-on-one with older adults for six to eight one-hour to two-hour sessions, typically over the course of four to five months. We meet where the participant is most comfortable, usually in their home. The program begins with weekly sessions that gradually taper down to monthly. This is a common skill-building technique used to support people in gradually learning to problem solve on their own.
Thanks to a Grant through our PPACG Area Agency on Aging we are able to offer this support to people 60+ free of charge.