Kit Links Service Providers to Resources for Older Adults
By Sarah E. Michaud
help service providers address alcohol abuse and medication misuse
among older adults, SAMHSA, the Administration on Aging (AoA), and
the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) recently released a toolkit,
Get Connected! Linking Older Adults with Medication, Alcohol,
and Mental Health Resources.
Older Americans comprise fewer than 13 percent of the population,
but receive between 25 and 30 percent of all prescriptions and account
for more than half of the hospitalizations resulting from drug reactions.
About 17 percent of older adults experience problems with abuse
of alcohol or misuse of prescription drugs, and 20 percent of the
mental health problems experienced by those over 55 are not part
of the normal aging process.
The toolkit is designed for organizations that provide services
to older adults, such as senior centers, adult day care services,
nutrition programs, state agencies, health and social service programs,
and faith-based initiatives. It introduces service providers to
substance abuse and misuse issues and mental health problems in
older adults. The toolkit also gives them a 5-step process to establish
a program, develop resources, conduct education sessions, and plan
According to Assistant Secretary on Aging Josefina G. Carbonell,
"Too many of our elders struggle to cope with difficult life
situations or mental health and substance abuse concerns that negatively
affect their ability to participate fully in life. This exciting
collaboration between SAMHSA, AoA, and NCOA makes important information
and resources available that can enhance the well-being of all older
"The Get Connected! toolkit addresses the needs
of this population by promoting new linkages that will help older
adults gain access to needed substance abuse and mental health services,"
said SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W.
The materials provided in the toolkit allow a services coordinator
- Determine if the organization is ready, willing, and able
to establish the program.
- Create or enhance the organization's resource database.
- Conduct educational sessions for staff and older adults,
or identify an appropriate person who can conduct these sessions.
- Help the organization draft a plan for future programs.
See What's in the Toolkit? for a description
of toolkit contents and directions for ordering.
Also Related ContentWhat's in the Toolkit? »
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