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Counseling Services offers residents a helping hand


Monday, April 15 (11:00 a.m.): Lynn Welch, the most recent addition to Rossmoor Counseling Services’ staff of full-time licensed clinicians, made a precise point as guest speaker at the Rossmoor Rotary Club’s Ap1ril 3 meeting. “We’re here for Rossmoor residents,” she said while providing an overview of Counseling Services’ many programs, services and support groups for residents, during Rotary’s weekly meeting at Hillside’s Diablo Room. Welch, who became licensed as a marriage and family therapist in 2009, said stages of transition are among the issues that Counseling Services helps residents navigate, particularly newcomers. That transition might be retirement, a relocation to be closer to children and/or grandkids, or the loss of a spouse, she said. “I’m sure most of you have experienced relationships change at different stages of life,” Welch said. “When people retire, if they are coupled or if they are single, it’s just a different relationship. I personally love working with that transition.” Another element of transition may involve caregiving, she explained. Perhaps one person in a relationship had been a caregiver, and then it switches. “That can be tough, but it also can be an opportunity,” she said.

Transition is among specific support groups that Counseling Services offers and facilitates. Others focus on bereavement and stress management, and there are two for caregivers – one for those caring for a loved one with dementia and another for caregivers tending to those with medical situations other than dementia. Asked about the issue of loneliness within Rossmoor, Welch said that while Counseling Services sees just a fraction of this community, she does see a loneliness epidemic nationally, and potentially worldwide. It’s a topic she touched on in a March Counseling Corner column in the News. She said prolonged isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, played a part. “I think there is more disconnection in general in our communities,” she said.

Where Counseling Services comes in, Welch said, “is to help triage some of that in a sense, to where can people plug in.” Welch came to Rossmoor in September, joining the staff consisting of Counseling Services Manager Penny Reed, clinician Grace Liu and administrative coordinator Florence Clifton. That Rossmoor has counseling on site continues to impress her. “As a skilled clinician, I really appreciate there is a dedicated space for us to work, using the skill set we each have.” Given the nature of Counseling Services, where all consultations are confidential and take on issues that many in society have difficulty talking about, outreach like Welch’s talk helps to get the word out. “People don’t talk about it so much, because it is such a personal thing,” Rotary President Sue Adams said, noting the important connection that Counseling Services has with the Rossmoor Fund, which helps fellow residents in need. “There is part of the population that isn’t using our services,” Welch said. “Sometimes, that is because it’s not on people’s radar.” Rotary presents a variety of speakers, arranged by its program committee. Representatives from services like Counseling often are part of the mix, as are fellow residents and presenters from the greater community. Counseling Services also presents Optimum Wellness Lectures, including one titled “Avoiding Senior Scams” on Tuesday, April 16, at the Fireside Room, featuring Walnut Creek police Detective Thomas Brown. Welch also noted Counseling Services’ special events, with the next being the Caregivers Care Conference put together by Liu for Wednesday, June 26, at the Event Center. Call Counseling Services at 1-925-988-7750 or email for information about its services and programs.