Addiction Treatment for Older Adults
Substance Abuse and the Elderly
This News 12 New Jersey interview with Dr. Jeff Berman, Director of Addiction Services at Bergen Regional Medical Center, discusses the difficulty of correctly diagnosing elderly patients. Dr. Berman talks about how conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia can mask a proper diagnosis of substance or alcohol dependence, and vice versa. He stresses that collateral input is key to correctly diagnosing and treating elderly individuals. This video would be useful for professionals working in the medical and mental health fields. This video is available on Bergen Regional Medical Center’s YouTube page. (00:07:20)
Drug Abuse in Older Adults / Documentary Video
Host Stan Rhoads facilitates a roundtable discussion about addiction in the baby boomer and elderly population. Experts weigh in with general statistics related to addiction for both populations. The following segments are especially effective:
- From 00:12:27 – 00:20:20, we meet a man who differentiates between two very different types of clients: those who have used drugs all of their lives and those who became addicted much later in life. He discusses the treatment differences for the two and also says a bit about the baby boomer generation in general, using the key term “mess” to describe boomers who overmedicate with prescription drugs and drink alcohol.
- From 00:25:25 – 00:30:15, the panel discusses how treatment challenges and treatment needs differ for various age groups. The experts speak about the mistake of using the same types of treatment for elderly people that are used for baby boomers, and how their generational differences and beliefs don’t mix well when they are put together. They also touch on the mistake of mixing teenagers with either population. A poignant part of this segment describes common reasons for individuals of each age group to enter into treatment and how those differences affect their long term recovery.
- From 00:35:40 – 42:25, we meet and hear from individuals who have extensive backgrounds in working with the elderly in addiction treatment. They give their opinions, share some stories, and stress the importance of creating prevention programming.
This public domain video by the Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training (MCTFT) is available on the Rosary Films YouTube channel. (00:59:53)
Substance Abuse and Older Adults
A montage of photos and statistics introduces the issue of substance abuse in older adults, followed by a discussion with a case manager and addictions counselor about what they’ve learned about this issue regarding older adults. One nice aspect of this video is that these healthcare professionals discuss the positive qualities of older adults: they are trusting of medical professionals, highly self-sufficient, and strong. These positive qualities are then delicately framed as barriers to addiction treatment. Ideas for how to best help this population are also discussed. This video is available on Jenheu77’s YouTube channel. (00:12:55)