As clinicians and community-based individuals, we encounter problematic substance use as well as Substance Use Disorder among older adults in our daily work.  Canadian healthcare providers now have the tools they need to better support the prevention, assessment and treatment of older adults at risk of, or living with, substance use disorders.

The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) officially launched 4 sets of Clinical Guidelines on Substance Use Disorders in Older Adults on January 20th, 2020.  These Clinical Guidelines on the prevention, screening, assessment and treatment of Alcohol, Cannabis, Benzodiazepine and Opioid Use Disorders among older adults are available online at www.ccsmh.ca.  In addition to these Guidelines, the CCSMH will be producing community brochures and other knowledge translation material on substance use disorder among older adults in the coming months.

This reading list includes links to and summaries of a variety of resources including considerations regarding:

  • special considerations for LGBT elders
  • ageism
  • the relationship between mental health and diabetes
  • self-harm
  • suicidal ideation
  • substance use disorders
  • eating disorders
  • grief in dementia
  • stigma
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • anxiety
  • personality disorder
  • exercise

4 pages. Last reviewed December 2019.

Tues. Sept. 24th, 2019 from 12-1PM EST join keynote Prof. Cristine Rego for this free wecast presentation.  The learning objectives for participants are to understand what Transgenerational (TGT) and Intergenerational trauma (IGT) is and how it impats on the older adults with substance use disorder (SUD); to know the complexities of TGT and IGT in older adults where this is a SUD; discuss culturally appropriate treatment options for older adults and to raise awareness of the impact of residential schools through initiaitves like Orange Shirt Day. No registration is required.  Login live via http://webcast.otn.ca/mywebcast/?id=138049554.

Dr. David Conn provided useful guidance in this presentation for clinicians on preventing the development of BZRA use disorder and optimally assessing and treating older individuals who have developed such a disorder. To watch the recording click here.

This article provides a review of epidemiological findings focusing on illicit drug use disorders and nonmedical use of prescription drugs in older adults 50 years and older. 20 pages. Last reviewed March 2019.

Friday, September 14 from 12-1 PM (EDT). In this webinar led by Dr. Bonnie Purcell, she will discuss alcohol-related problems that are often unrecognized in working with older adults. The Senior Alcohol Misuse Indicator (SAMI) tool is a screening tool developed at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health that provides a gentle, non-confrontational approach to elicit information to determine if there are concerns related to alcohol use/misuse. To register, click here.

The authors of this American study found that 71% of the interviewed older inmates reported a substance abuse problem and were more likely to abuse alcohol than younger inmates.

The aim of this study was to compare clinical and psychosocial characteristics of older adults aged 70 and over who had attempted suicide. 10 pages. Last reviewed July 2018.

This study sought to determine if trauma exposure is associated with suicidal ideation in a a nationally-representative sample of older adults. 7 pages. Last reviewed July 2018.

This American resource guide is comprised of four parts; recognizing and responding to older adult behavioural health issues, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, navigating medicaid behavioural health and self-care for staff. 16 pages. Last Reviewed July 2018.

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