The Evergreen Guide: Helping People to Survive and Thrive in Later Years

Declan Lyons (Editor)
Consultant Psychiatrist in Mental Health of Later Life, St. Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Series: Psychiatry – Theory, Applications and Treatments
BISAC: MED105000



Volume 10

Issue 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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The Evergreen Programme is a group-based therapeutic programme for older adults with acute mental illness which has been in place since 2003 at St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin. The Evergreen Guide is compiled by members of the multidisciplinary team, from a diverse range of disciplines, who deliver this programme in an inpatient unit of the largest mental health facility in Ireland. This publication reflects the broad range of topics and material which form the basis of the 6-week rotational programme.

The Evergreen Programme was designed to be an interactive group programme for older people with a range of psychological conditions that could bridge the gap between diversional activities and psychotherapy. We believe that this book will be of particular interest to health professionals who deliver group-based therapy to older people and will also be a resource for long-term care facilities, as well as community-based active retirement groups and day hospitals, and other acute inpatient facilities.

The book reflects a holistic approach to the treatment and rehabilitation of older people recovering from acute mental illness. The considerable experience that the Evergreen team has accumulated over the last decade is reflected in the objective of this publication (which is also the principal goal of the Evergreen Programme) which is to optimize the health and functioning of older people by encouraging them to retain their resilience and independence on the pathway to recovery. The theme of the Evergreen Guide is, therefore, steadfastly that of positive or successful aging, in spite of the presence of physical or mental ill-health, with emphasis also on recovery and on the restoration of function as a launching pad for the attainment of a level of productivity and engagement necessary to render one’s later years fulfilling and complete.

The chapters are presented in a format that prompts discussion and participation through the use of reflective questions at the start of each chapter, followed by six, discrete weekly ‘modules’ reflecting the present organization and operation of the Evergreen Programme. Clinicians can pick up this guide and begin to use it immediately, as a manual or road map in a group setting, for imparting the practical principles and strategies needed by older people to maximize their physical, mental and creative abilities. Key learning points at the end of each chapter reinforce the relevant knowledge and insights to be attained by participants by the end of each session.

The breadth of topics covered is diverse ranging from successful aging, to spirituality, to the safe use of medication. All of the material is written by the team of clinicians who have considerable individual skill and knowledge, not only in relation to the theoretical material, but also in respect of the optimal methods and manner for imparting this information to groups of older people. Mental health professionals will appreciate this practical and detailed guide which will increase their effectiveness, relevance and competence in working with older people. (Imprint: Nova)



List of Contributors and Author Biographies

Chapter 1. Overview of Evergreen
(Declan Lyons, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 2. Practical Considerations when Running a Group for Older Adults
(Kiran Santlal, Registrar in Psychiatry – St Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 3. Attitudes towards Age-Stereotyping of Older People
(Declan Lyons, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 4. Losses in Later Life: Practical Steps for Coping
(Naoise Waldron, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 5. Common Physical Illnesses in Later Life: Prevention and Minimisation
(Maria Tempany, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 6. Common Mental Health Problems in Later Life
(Elizabeth Watts, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 7. Mind Matters: A Psychology Group for Older Adults
(Karen Looney, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 8. Safe Use of Medication
(Ailish Young, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 9. Safe Movement Education: Preventing Accidents and Falls
(Grainne Dempsey and Marian O’Reilly, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 10. Spirituality, Health and Ageing
(Maria Frampton, The Mental Health Commission, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 11. Promoting a Wellness Lifestyle: An Occupational Approach to Enhancing Health and Well-Being in Later Life
(Clare Hennigan, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 12. Successful Ageing
(Mark Joynt, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 13. Measuring Outcomes of Group Work
(Sarah Brady, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 14. Conclusion: Embracing the Evergreen Philosophy
(Declan Lyons, St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland)


"The Evergreen Guide showcases the type of group oriented, multi-disciplinary program that elevates elder care. What makes this work significant is that it is more than theory; this book shares the hands-on therapeutic programing at St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin. Declan Lyons, editor, opens the door to this program to give a glimpse of progressive care for elders with acute mental illness." READ MORE... - Kathie Erwin, Ed.D., LMHC, NCC, National Certified, Gerontological Counselor, Assistant Professor, Regent University, Author of “Group Techniques for Aging Adults, 2nd Edition.”

"The book, edited by Declan Lyons, is based on a program begun 10 years ago in Dublin, Ireland, that focuses on the treatment of hospitalized mentally ill adults who are 65 years of age or older. The Evergreen Program is a collaborative, multidisciplinary program intended not only to alleviate these patients’ symptoms of mental illness but, in addition, to help them develop those skills and attitudes that enhance successful discharge from the hospital and optimal adjustment to the challenges and opportunities associated with aging." READ MORE... - Reviewed by Alan J. Swope, PhD, ABPP, Professor, California School of Professional Psychology (San Francisco) of Alliant International University

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