Stories: After a heart bypass, Gloria was struggling with depression

This story comes courtesy of Barica Horner with Goodwill Homes Community Services, Inc., a part of United Way’s local nonprofit network of care. Names and images have been changed to protect privacy.

Gloria is a 71-year-old African-American who has had health struggles including diabetes, heart problems and a need to attend dialysis three times a week. She became involved with a Goodwill Homes Community Services center shortly after recovering from heart bypass surgery.

When Gloria joined the center, her children contacted one of the agency counselors and shared they were worried Gloria might be suffering from depression. As she was recovering from the bypass, Gloria was increasingly showing signs of withdrawal. The counselor began speaking with Gloria about her feelings.

“Gloria had felt depressed because of social isolation and a loss of independence,” the counselor said. “After the surgery, Gloria had to depend heavily on her children to meet her basic needs. She was not interacting with her own peer group. Her children decided to enroll her at the center so that she would have a social outlet and regain her sense of independence.”

The center provides adult day care, senior center activities, supportive and affordable housing for seniors along with services for many local children and families.

Your Support Impacts LivesGloria participates in an age-appropriate low-impact exercise program at the center, which has helped improve her health She is walking better, and her stamina has increased. She interacts with other clients and has made numerous friends at the center. Gloria is now able to go on outings including the regional fair, retail shopping, visiting local museums and outside walks. She also participates in center activities including reality orientation, low-impact exercise, group discussions, arts & crafts and health screenings.

“I’m so glad to be here at the center,” Gloria says. She has progressed from feeling isolated and depressed to being a “social butterfly” with a stronger sense of independence.  She has even volunteered to assist others at the center with their walking – stating that “by helping others, I know I’m needed.”

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