Heritage Program for Seniors

The VCHS Heritage Program for Seniors is a behavioral health program that provides individualized treatment for older adults who struggle with emotional or behavioral issues. Our philosophy is to provide quality care that stresses the importance of dignity, respect, confidentiality and helping the individual to achieve an optimal level of functioning. The Heritage Program is an outpatient program that provides intensive treatment Monday through Friday at Valley County Health System. Patients receive services in the least restrictive environment and are able to return to their homes by early afternoon.

Problems and Needs of the Elderly

The elderly and their caregivers have unique problems and needs. Physical decline, loss of independence and safety concerns are just a few of the concerns that require special attention and can contribute to depression and other mental health issues for the elderly. Healthcare professionals have identified that emotional problems decrease the ability to cope with the natural aging process. Mental Health Disorders affect at least 20% of individuals aged 55 and older. Depression and other disorders are often undiagnosed and untreated in older patients, due in part to the presence of other complicating medical complaints. The risk for depression in the elderly is 4x greater than for the general population.

Program Components

  • Group, family and individual therapy
  • Communication skills
  • Conflict-resolution skills
  • Stress Management
  • Assertiveness training
  • Coping skills
  • Positive-living skills
  • Medication management
  • Health and wellness training
  • Grief and loss resolution

Treatment Team

The Heritage Program's treatment modalities are designed to meet the unique needs of older adults by education of patients, families and caregivers regarding mental health issues affecting daily living. Treatment is supervised by a Board Certified Geriatric Psychiatrist and provided by a team that includes Master Level clinicians. Most importantly, each member of the Heritage team is caring, compassionate and professional while maintaining the patient's confidentiality.

Who Could Benefit From the Heritage Program?

The person whose quality of life has been diminished by physical or emotional stressors. The person who has not progressed or benefited sufficiently in less intensive treatment settings. The person whose mental health is declining and might require inpatient care unless treatment is provided.

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Distress in the Elderly

Provides care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients.

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Low self-esteem
  • Agitation
  • Combative behavior
  • Confused thoughts
  • Crying
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Change in eating and/or sleeping patterns
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Failing memory
  • Irritability
  • Social isolation
  • Paranoia, hallucinations or delusions
  • Unresolved grief issues


Any concerned individual may refer themselves or someone else to the program. The Heritage Program provides an initial clinical assessment at no cost to determine the need for further evaluation. Payment Medicare and most private insurance plans cover Heritage Program services.

For more information, please view the Heritage Program Brochure or call 308.728.4340.

Employee Recognition

Gold Star Award

Keri Brugger and Amber Schulenberg

"Keri started with Heritage July 20. Her therapy skills are a critical asset to the Heritage Program. She offered a way to change the way we do things to make them more patient centered and targeted to the needs of the attendees in the Program. She is active in working closely with our referral sources in order to enhance patient care and provide meaningful treatment. She is very much involved in strengthening treatment services and having a positive impact on our patient population!"

"Amber started her position at Heritage August 17. She integrated into the Program quickly. She has learned the system and compliance issues in a short time. She has organized our electronic files, makes patients welcome, glittered our booth for women’s night out, has a talent for patient scheduling, prepares our day, communicates well about concerns, and all around is cheerful and enthusiastic about her job!"

Congratulations, Keri and Amber!

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