Season 1, Episode 9

Sounding the Alarm on Substance Misuse Among the Aging Population

Sep 16, 2022

As we age, some of us may find ourselves or those we care about using substances more often. Pain, boredom, and loss makes us more vulnerable. Our guests, Margaret Franckhauser and Anne Marie Olsen-Hayward, explain how this slide happens and how to get help.

As we age, we become more vulnerable to the effects of misusing substances for a variety of reasons.
Physical changes alter the way alcohol and other substances are processed impacting mood, memory and movement. Significant events such as retirement, moving or grieving change our lifestyle and can lead to using substances as a form of coping. Chronic pain or illness can result in multiple prescriptions that can be unintentionally misused. When adult children, loved ones, providers, and others understand the risks associated with substance misuse among older people then we can support and help our friends, neighbors, and loved ones enjoy healthy aging.

There is an urgent need for all of us to recognize and support our loved ones when we see their unhealthy use of substances as they age. When all of us invest in the early stages and take action, we can help our parents, friends and neighbors get well and stay well.

Explore more on the topics and themes discussed in this episode:

REAP Program – Referral, education, assistance and prevention program for older adults in NH. Call ServiceLink, (toll free) at 1-866-634-9412, to find a program in your area.

NH ServiceLink – ServiceLink helps individuals access and make connections to long-term services and supports, access family caregiver information and supports, explore options and understand and access Medicare and Medicaid.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – Suicide prevention crisis line services for a mental health emergency. Dial 988 to speak with a counselor anytime.

The Doorway – For help dealing with a mental health or substance use related issue, dial 2-1-1 to be connected with a Doorway anywhere in NH.

NH Nurses Association – Providing health professionals resources to identify and help both patients and peers struggling with the harmful use of alcohol.

NH SBIRT – SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) is an evidence-based public health approach to addressing problem substance use across a variety of settings. Visit to find research, playbooks, training videos and patient education tools.

Host & Guests

Featured Guest:

Margaret Franckhauser, Anne Marie Olsen-Hayward

Host: Christin D’Ovidio


Episode Transcript (PDF)

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Margaret Franckhauser, MS, MPH, RN, is the Director of Aging Services at JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI). She has over 40 years’ experience in health care as a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, program manager, community-based organization administrator, and public health consultant. As a clinician, she served in a rural underserved area through the National Health Service Corps and later as the clinical director of epidemiology for a state department of public health. As the CEO of a community-based organization she worked with teams to create and sustain programs to improve person-centered care for those with increased susceptibility to adverse health outcomes – with a focus on older adults and people living with disabilities. Through JSI, Margaret has served as a subject matter expert to design and deliver training and technical assistance for workforce development, behavioral health, community-based services for older adults and long-term care.

Margaret has deep expertise in systems of care designed to serve older adults and is certified in older adult behavioral health and Reframing Aging— a social change initiative designed to improve the public’s understanding of aging. Margaret is also skilled in training, organizational management, facilitation of interdisciplinary teams, patient-centered care, designing systems for community outreach, and creating meaningful quality improvement programs. Her skills in facilitation and in oral and written communication are strong and assist in creating strong teams and a collaborative work environment.

Anne Marie Olsen-Hayward, LCSW, is the Director of REAP (Referral, Education, Assistance and Prevention), a statewide program supporting older adults in the community and a clinical therapist at Seacoast Mental Health Center. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Anne Marie was previously a therapist at Frisbie Memorial Hospital Geriatric Psychiatry Services, where she worked with patients and families throughout disease progression. She is an adjunct faculty member at UNH in the Social Work Department. Anne Marie is the president elect of the NH Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW),  participating in committees and community groups which focus on geriatrics. Anne Marie’s extensive experience includes 16 years of working in an acute and outpatient medical setting, in addition to sitting on local and statewide committees focused on addressing systems gaps for our older population. She has worked with Dartmouth Hitchcock Centers on Aging on the development of a Dementia Referral Specialist Program. Anne Marie presents at state and regional wide conferences on the systems issues which impact older adults.

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