Aging to Perfection

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 and is good for retirement communities, community centers, or religious facilities.

Aging adult substance abuse often occurs 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. One-third or more 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 have not been addressed, chronic pain, loneliness, boredom, and low self-worth can result in maladaptive behaviors. These can include 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 each of one’s physicians knows about every medication and dosage taken by the patient
  • Ways to maximize time with a doctor, such as being prepared with questions or concerns
  • Changes in aging that affects behavior
  • An understanding of the differences between normal aging and causes for concern or medical problems

Participants learn how to reduce their 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 they can become inebriated much quicker than when they were younger. 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 liquor. For men, two drinks is the limit.

Seniors learn that 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 discover new hobbies, develop friendships, and reinstate meaningful traditions and rituals.