About Side By Side

About Side By Side

Side by Side uniquely addresses the subject of older adults, their caregivers, and mental health in an educational program developed by NAMI NH (National Alliance on Mental Illness – New Hampshire) in 2008.  This program gives information and guidance on a wide range of topics relevant to caregivers of older adults.

Side by Side has been warmly received by assisted living communities, adult day programs, primary care settings, hospitals, churches, mental health centers, senior centers, and home based care agencies throughout New Hampshire.

Side by Side is based on the following key values:

  • Recognizing the significance of caregivers and the benefit they provide physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually to older adults
  • Acknowledging the interrelationship between physical and mental health
  • Supporting older adults in their choice of living arrangements
  • Valuing the importance of caregivers listening to what the older adult wants
  • Understanding that care-giving involves “doing with” not “doing for”
  • Empowering older adults to live their lives to their fullest according to their wishes

Program Staff
The primary trainer for Side by Side is Bernie Seifert, LCSW.  Ms. Seifert earned her MSW degree with a sub-concentration in Aging from Boston University in 1984 and has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker serving older adults and their families in New Hampshire since 1988.  She was voted the “Social Worker of the Year” in 1996 by the NASW, NH chapter.

Ms. Seifert is also on staff with the Northern New England Geriatric Education Center of Dartmouth Medical School where she has developed training programs regarding older adults with mental health disorders.  Her other affiliations include serving on the Board of Directors of the NH Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; Chair of the NH Coalition on Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Aging; and Coordinating Committee of Seniors Count program.

What people are saying about Side by Side:

“Hearing that other people have similar stories and difficulties is most comforting.”

“It provided thorough and clear information about going to the doctor and what to expect.”

“A wide variety of information was presented – a good amount without being overwhelming.”

“It was most helpful to get one source of comprehensive information and support services.”

“Our Resource Center on Aging has offered a variety of workshops to support caregivers.  Side by Side is the first series that has focused on mental health.  That is so much needed!”

“The layout of what to do with each behavior was a good step by step guide.”

“The message given over and over by Side by Side Program is to LISTEN to what the older adult may want, rather than assume we know what that is.”

“There was just the right amount of information to get the message across.”

“Very helpful information!  I will use this with myself and my spouse.”

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