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TIDE program reaching out to seniors

Published 4:24pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The University of Alabama is offering a free program for people over the age of 50 who struggle with insomnia and depression.

In Demopolis, the TIDE program is run through the sleep clinic at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital, and it does not require a referral from a doctor.

Treatment of Insomnia and Depression in Elders is a 10-week sleep study program funded through the National Institutes of Health that helps people deal with improve their sleeping habits, as well as their mindsets.

Ashley Neuhauser, right, spoke to the Demopolis Kiwanis Club on Tuesday about the TIDE program that helps those ages 50 and older with insomnia and depression. She is shown with club president Craig Schumacher.
Ashley Neuhauser, right, spoke to the Demopolis Kiwanis Club on Tuesday about the TIDE program that helps those ages 50 and older with insomnia and depression. She is shown with club president Craig Schumacher.

“Our goal is to get better psychiatric healthcare to rural areas,” said Ashley Neuhauser, an undergraduate volunteer with the TIDE program. “Patients in the program interact with the doctors through videoconferencing in the local doctor’s office using the program Skype.”

To be qualified for the study, patients must be 50 years of age or older, feeling down or depressed, experiencing insomnia and interested in a research study to help with their sleep.

Patients in the study will be asked to go to the doctor’s office for one hour once a week for 10 weeks. Everyone in the study will complete three assessments asking questions about sleep, mood and overall health. They will speak with Dr. Kenneth Lichstein and Dr. Forrest Scrogin, who are in charge of the study during their videoconference calls.

“The first three weeks of the program focus on insomnia, and we have had a lot of success with that treatment,” Neuhauser said. “The next four to five weeks focus on depression and ways to counteract it. We encourage patients to be active and doing things that they enjoy. The final sessions of the program are to make sure the patients understand what they need to do to continue improving.”

Neuhauser added that there is a three-month checkup after the 10-week program to see how that patients are doing.

“It is really great to see the improvements in patients as they progress through the program,” she said.

Overall, about 25 people have completed the full program including the three-month checkup, and there are about 50 people that are in the process of completing it.

TIDE is looking for more people to go through the program, and there are only six months left for people to sign up.

“Our grant ends in six months, so anyone interested in participating needs to sign up before then,” she said.

Participants in the program will receive $50 in compensation after they fully complete the program, and they could also receive up to another $50 if there is an issue with transportation costs to and from the doctor’s office.

For more information about the program, call the University of Alabama psychology department at (205) 348-1963.

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