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 SBIRTNH.org to find research, playbooks, training videos and patient education tools.