Audience: Adults 55 and older
Funding is available to provide free training in many areas we serve.
Aging to Perfection is a community-based education program developed with an understanding of late-onset, aging adult substance abuse. Its purpose is to strengthen healthy behaviors including the ability to manage difficult situations. This three-session program reaches across all socio-economic levels, integrating nicely into schools, retirement communities, community centers or religious facilities.
Aging adult substance abuse often exists under the radar because of denial and the misunderstanding of symptoms related to addiction and age. Drinking alcohol and abusing medications can become an insidious slide into addiction. Fully a third of aging adult addicts suffer from late-onset substance abuse.
Research has shown that late-onset addiction can develop because of fewer protective factors, such a having a sense of purpose in daily life and meeting regularly with friends or family, as opposed to having a number of risk factors. Grief and loss that are not addressed with healthy coping skills, chronic pain, loneliness, boredom and low self-worth can result in maladaptive behaviors, such as drinking heavily, misusing prescription medications and neglecting to eat properly.
Aging to Perfection sessions are educational and interactive. Participants learn:
- Safe medication practices, such as making sure that all one’s physicians know about all medications and doses of medications taken
- Ways to maximize time with a doctor, such as being prepared with questions or concerns
- Changes in aging that affect behaviors
- An understanding of differences between normal aging and medical problems
Participants learn how to reduce risk and build protector factors for alcohol or prescription medicine abuse. An important protector factor is establishing personal standards of alcohol use. Many older adults are surprised to learn that the aging body does not process alcohol as efficiently as it once did, and becoming inebriated can happen very quickly. For example, the recommended limit for an older woman who is otherwise healthy and does not have a problem with alcohol is one drink, defined by the National Institute of Health as a 5 oz. or less glass of wine, a 12 oz. beer or a 1.5 oz. shot of l 80-proof spirits. For men, two drinks is the limit.
Changing and improving one’s lifestyle can make a significant difference in overall health, satisfaction and joy. Expressing feelings and emotions appropriately can be therapeutic. Many aging adult participants rediscover old interests or new hobbies, develop friendships and reinstate meaningful traditions and rituals.