Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

13 Dec, 2018

New service to help senior citizens deal with drug addiction, mental health challenges

Editor’s Note: Ageing populations worldwide will require create new pressures, opportunities and challenges. This media release outlines one new initiative that should be of interest to Health & Wellness practitioners — helping senior citizens live more productive lives.

MONROE, La. (PRWEB) December 12, 2018 — The elderly population in northeastern Louisiana is far too often forgotten when it comes to critical efforts involving prescription medications, addictions, mental health challenges, physical and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Recognizing this, Northeast Delta Human Services Authority has launched Operation Golden Years.

“This new initiative provides increased awareness, support and highlights our services for the needs of those 60 and above in our 12-parish region,” said Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, the agency’s executive director. “Our vision is to enable often overlooked seniors to not just survive but rather thrive through the golden years of their lives.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 850,000 Louisianians are over the age of 60, about 19 percent of the total state population. Northeast Delta leverages existing activities, initiatives and programs to support this population. “Sometimes all our seniors need is consideration, information and opportunity,” said Sizer. “Who among us wants to be forgotten, left alone and uninvolved when we have much to offer?”

The agency offers seniors education and information about prescription medicines. A recent Health Services Research journal study found 4.5 million doctor or emergency department visits per year are due to adverse drug events. Northeast Delta’s prevention and wellness team facilitates community forums educating seniors about the proper use and disposal of medicine. Each April and October we partner with other organizations in our region to provide prescription take back boxes as a part of the National Prescription Take Back Day.

No matter how old we are, addiction and mental health issues have no expiration dates. Some people 60 and up are often underestimated and under-diagnosed, preventing some seniors from getting help. “Drug or alcohol abuse can often mimic the symptoms of other medical or mental health disorders, such as diabetes, dementia or depression,” noted Sizer. “Our integrated behavioral health and primary care integration model enables our licensed clinicians to provide holistic care for our clients’ specific needs.”

Sizer said Northeast Delta advocates for seniors with intellectual and developmental disabilities while providing them with services so they can remain active. “We connect the dots for seniors,” he said. “Our developmental disabilities team connects people with home and community-based services. If it’s the choice that seniors and their families make, we want everyone to stay in their homes as they advance in years.”