INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
Magdalene Lim is the Director of the UCCS Aging Center. Learn more at uccs.edu/healthcircle/aging-center.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) Aging Center provides high-quality mental health services for older adults through four core programs, including the Memory and Cognitive Assessment Clinic (ranging from memory screens to comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations); the Aging Families and Caregiver Program, offering counseling, education, and consultation; Psychotherapy for individuals and groups; and Clinicians in the Community, integrating mental health services with primary care and social services agencies. We also are the primary training site for clinical geropsychology graduate students.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
The mission of the nonprofit Aging Center is to enhance the quality of life for older adults and their families through excellence in psychological training, services, research, and integrated care partnerships. As the only mental health clinic in the Pikes Peak region focused exclusively on aging, we provide the most vulnerable, underserved seniors and caregivers with affordable services they could not obtain elsewhere. We offer programs on a low-fee sliding scale based on income or for Medicare reimbursement.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
UCCS’s aging-focused Ph.D. program is one of only a small handful of such programs in the country, with a science practitioner curriculum designed to prepare a highly trained workforce. As a result, the Aging Center’s graduate trainees and licensed staff psychologists provide the highest-quality mental health services at very low cost to a population in dire need. Within the larger community, the Aging Center also has been the driving force behind the integration of behavioral health into partner agencies’ core service models.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
As adults age, they become more vulnerable to mental health conditions and more likely to experience stressful events, including poor health and the loss of loved ones. Too many older adults with mental disorders—approximately two-thirds of them—do not seek or receive treatment. We are inspired every day by the need to help elders experience the joy, peace, and fulfillment they deserve in their later years.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Our big dream is to make mental health services accessible for all older adults and their families. We also want to increase awareness of the UCCS Aging Center’s services, continue to destigmatize mental health, and fight against ageism.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
Like most nonprofit clinics, the Aging Center dreams of being financially sustainable for the long term. Although the clinic is affiliated with UCCS, we must raise the majority of our budget through gifts, grants, and contracts. Hiring trained geropsychologists is an ongoing need as well.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Funding has been our biggest challenge since we opened our doors. Thanks to generous individual donors and foundations who believe in the work we do, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2019.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Identify a need, believe in your mission, then seek advice from experts in nonprofit and financial management.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Spread the word about the Aging Center and please consider donating to our mission through our website.
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