A Boston Globe article, ‘Tragic consequences when nursing homes neglect substance abuse‘ explores the problem of addiction among older adults, and what it terms a critical gap in substance abuse care, which is expected to become increasingly important as baby boomers age into the part of their lives where they will need eldercare.

The New Jewish Home’s Geriatric Substance Abuse Recovery Program is the country’s first nursing home-based recovery program for older adults.  The program is designed for seniors in rehabilitation after surgery or other medical episode, whose condition is complicated by addiction to alcohol or prescription medications. The program combines medical therapies with a program to assist the patient in addressing their addiction and establish a support system for long term recovery.

“The addiction crisis is going to be in patients in every demographic, and it behooves nursing homes to learn how to take care of [these] patients,” said Dr. Sarah Wakeman, medical director of the substance use disorder initiative at Massachusetts General Hospital, in the Globe article.

The article summarized a recent report from the US Office of the Inspector General, which found that the number of Americans aged 65 or older who have prescriptions for commonly abused opioids via Medicare is in the millions.

In some cases, elders who are coping with addiction are erroneously turned away from nursing homes, rather than getting the treatment they need.

The article closed with a discussion of our innovative program, and how it is helping this vulnerable population to get the help they need to address the issues they face.

A New York nonprofit, The New Jewish Home, is trying to make it easier for addicts to find care in nursing homes.

Two years ago, it embarked on an experiment involving 120 patients that included Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the nursing home, talk therapy, and care by specialists who replaced potentially addictive drugs with medications that don’t lead to addiction.

Program workers paid close attention to patients as they were discharged, to ensure they had ample support, including outpatient therapy and home visits.

Find out more about our first-of-its-kind Geriatric Substance Abuse Recovery Program.

Read the full Boston Globe article.