The Silver Tsunami: Aging, Addiction, Mental Health and Chronic Pain
Date & Time
Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Like the Snow-White parable, sometimes we look in the mirror and hope to see the fairest of them all. Instead, aging takes its toll and we see a wrinkly face and lines around our eyes. I know inside I feel like 35, yet the clock hands tell an older story…
Even though scientists claim 60 is the new 40 in part because of healthy living and medical breakthroughs, aging turns us from a well-oiled Corvette to a Model T Ford with creaks and groans. According to the Census Bureau, the baby boomer population - 78 million strong - will be over the age of 65 by the middle of the century. This means that 1 in 5 Americans will be a senior citizen - the largest group of older citizens in American history. With such a turn in demographics, it poses a challenging question for clinicians, policymakers and behavioral health care professionals: how to take care of the aging population. More importantly, this population of aging Americans in particular are experiencing upward trends in substance abuse disorders, chronic pain along with grief and loss. Alcohol is the most widely abused substance for Americans over the age of 50 while illicit and prescription drug opioids use as well as marijuana has spiked in recent years. In fact, elderly adults are hospitalized for alcohol problems as often as they are for heart attacks. These two forces - the greying of baby boomers and increase in alcohol and other drugs amongst this group - are merging together and creating one of the fastest growing problems in our country. This interactive session will take a look at best practices for treating seniors and their families.