Promoting Older Adult Health: Guide Offers Assistance
Inadvertent misuse and abuse of alcohol and medications. Depression.
Anxiety. These problems often are overlooked in adults age 65 and
older by service providers, family members, and even by older adults
To assist in addressing these issues, SAMHSA and the National
Council on Aging (NCOA) partnered to produce a guide for community-based
organizations that help seniors.
The new guide, Promoting Older Adult Health: Aging Network
Partnerships to Address Medication, Alcohol and Mental Health Problems,
provides concrete, practical guidance for mental health, substance
abuse, primary care, and aging services providers to help them join
together to provide education, prevention, screening, referrals,
and treatment for seniors experiencing or at risk for substance
abuse and mental problems.
"As many as 17 percent of older adults are affected by alcohol
and/or prescription drug misuse, and an estimated 20 percent of
older adults experience mental disorders that are not a normal part
of aging. Yet, older adults often are reluctant to seek help for
these preventable and treatable problems," said SAMHSA Administrator
Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W. "This guide helps facilitate
collaborations among mental health, substance abuse, and aging services
providers to the benefit of millions of older Americans."
"There are innovative program models and creative funding
strategies described in this book," said James P. Firman,
NCOA president and CEO. "However, the real success of this
joint effort will be measured in the improved quality of life for
countless older Americans, both today and for decades to come."
The guide identifies programs across the country that link with
community partners to provide seniors with needed support without
requiring individual organizations to commit large amounts of staff
time or money. It highlights how these programs operate
and offers lessons from their successes. Finally, it shows how a
direct approach to addressing medication, alcohol, and mental problems
among older adults can enhance the capabilities of aging services
and foster healthy aging in older adults.
The guide is based on findings of a national search by the NCOA
to identify exemplary programs that make the needed service linkages.
Fifteen programs are profiled in depth and an additional 25 noted.
National and state contact information is provided to help organizations
find resources and advice.
NCOA is a national, nonprofit group of individuals and organizations
that promotes the dignity, independence, well-being, and contributions
of older people. NCOA's members include senior centers, area
agencies on aging, adult day services providers, faith congregations,
senior housing agencies, health centers, employment services organizations,
and consumer organizations.
The publication (HHS Publication No. MS 02-3628) is available free
from SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
at P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800)
729-6686 (English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD). For more information on SAMHSA services for older adults, visit www.samhsa.gov. Or
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