Recently, you heard from the creative team—our writer, photographers, and videographers—for our award-winning 2011 annual report focused on mental health and older adults. In that blog post, Don Battershall reported that in order to capture the stories of the older adults, caregivers, and health care professionals featured in the annual report, he needed to “really slow down and just listen, let the person talk.”
Today, we are delighted to give you the opportunity to “slow down and listen,” just as Don did, through the first of our collection of 2011 annual report videos.
The first video features Elizabeth, an inspiring older adult who overcame years of depression triggered by the murder of her daughter and subsequent death of her husband. Elizabeth, together with her Depression Care Manager Rita Haverkamp, RN, MNS, CNS, participated in Project IMPACT—a successful, Hartford-funded model to assess and treat depression in a primary care setting.
As our dedicated 2012 Hartford Foundation annual report blog series followers know, our August 7 blog featured the creative team behind our award-winning annual report. Intrigued by their stories, we asked our annual report writer, Lynne Christensen, to tell us more about her experience writing about mental health and older adults.
Writing this year’s annual report had personal significance for me that I could not have anticipated when I began the project. About halfway through the writing process, I learned that my 81-year-old mother needed a heart valve replacement, and the surgery couldn’t wait. It was a traumatic surgery for someone her age.
Alice Christensen and her beloved cat, Sugar
Last year I had the honor of announcing our first-ever Gold Award in the Vision Award Annual Report Competition sponsored by the League of American Communications Professionals (LACP) for our 2010 Hartford Annual Report.
This year, I get to brag again. Our 2011 Hartford Annual Report focused on mental health and older adults won a Silver Award in this year’s Vision Award competition. (As an official Hartford Bean Counter, I do feel obliged to report that our overall score of 97/100 was higher than last year’s 96/100.). Again, we won accolades for our narrative, creativity, and information accessibility, earning perfect marks on all.
Rather than simply bragging, I want to do some thanking. While Frank Doll, Nora OBrien-Suric, Jessie White, and I worked pretty hard on this report, the real, creative heavy lifting fell to Lynne Christensen (writer), Don Battershall (designer/photographer/videographer) and Will Mebane (photographer/videographer).
It happens all too often: an older adult goes into the hospital and starts behaving strangely—hallucinating, rambling, showing signs of agitation, or becoming disoriented. He or she may not even recognize loved ones. What’s the diagnosis according to far too many health care providers? Dementia. And this despite the fact that dementia always has a gradual, not sudden, onset.
It happened to Nora OBrien-Suric’s father and Chris Langston’s uncle. It also happened to Roberto, whom we feature in our 2011 Hartford Foundation Annual Report. All of them had delirium, a reversible condition that can affect older adults after surgery or an illness.
What’s the solution? We need to educate health care providers as well as older adults and their loved ones about delirium and other mental health issues. The solution lies in astute practitioners like Pamela Cacchione, PhD, RN, BC, and her nursing student, Ashley King, MSN, RN, who had the skills and clinical training to assess and address Roberto’s delirium in order to restore his quality of life.
Hot off the press is the web version of our most recent annual report focused on older adults and mental health—a topic near and dear to many of us at the Foundation.
In May 2002, my friend Tucker killed himself. Alone in his apartment, he used a gun to commit suicide. What haunts me (and many of his friends) to this day is that we had no idea that he was depressed. None. For years, Tucker apparently put on a brave face and silently suffered.
Such is the case with many older adults. Of the 40 million Americans over the age of 65, about 7.5 million have a mental health disorder and this number will grow as more of our population ages. Many older adults with mental illness suffer needlessly as they may have not been diagnosed, receive inadequate care, or worse—get no care at all. This despite the fact that adults over the age of 65 have a disproportionally higher rate of suicide than other age groups, with white males 85 and older having the highest.
For the past few months, we have been blogging on the pioneering nurse leaders featured in our photo-driven “Day in the Life of an Academic Geriatric Nurse” annual report honoring the 10th anniversary of our Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) Initiative.
We have done so for a few reasons: because we are proud of these BAGNC nurses and because quite frankly, the annual report rocks. It does so because of the amazing photos and the clear, compelling text. Both tell our nursing stories in a creative format to educate, inform, and inspire others.
I can shamelessly brag about the report (along with my annual report colleagues, Marcus Escobedo and Frank Doll) because we had the fun role of “managing” and “overseeing” the process. The people that did the heavy lifting were writer Lynne Christensen, photographer/designer Don Battershall, and photographer Will Mebane.