News

Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Region IV Area Agency on Aging

Learn how this Michigan AAA pioneered a trailblazing regional partnership with health officials and housing authorities to develop and launch an opioid education and medication management program for older adults residing in senior housing complexes.

We're proud to highlight the award-winning work of the 2020 winners of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week, we are focusing on Region IV Area Agency on Aging's Opioids: Safe Use, Safe Storage, A Healthier You program—which was a 2020 Aging Innovations Award winner in the Healthy Aging category, receiving the highest score among recipients and received a monetary award. The 2020 AIA Awards were made possible thanks to the support of Centene.
 
To address the opioid public health crisis in Michigan, Region IV Area Agency on Aging pioneered a trailblazing regional partnership with health officials and housing authorities to develop and launch “Opioids: Safe Use, Safe Storage, A Healthier You,” an opioid education and medication management program for older adults residing in senior housing complexes.
 
The project deploys Certified Addiction Prevention Specialists and focuses on providing training and education to combat older adult opioid use disorder; preventing opioid theft; and connecting older adults to alternative pain management options, addiction treatment and other supportive services. The programming is held in senior housing complexes.
 
Programming was delivered at 12 senior housing complexes in FY 2019. Survey results show an increase in residents' understanding of what an opioid is (90 percent) and the potential harms/risks associated with them (93 percent); increased knowledge and understanding of alternative ways to treat pain (93 percent); and increased awareness of actions to prevent medication theft, properly store medications and properly dispose of unused or expired medications (93 percent).
 
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program created a video recording of the education presentation and disseminated it to senior housing complexes and other residential facilities for residents to watch. The prevention specialist's contact information is provided in the video and as a part of the education packets, which include a Deterra drug-disposal packet, COVID-19 information, Lysol wipes and hand sanitizers.
 
The program curriculum is available and easy to replicate in partnership with local health departments and housing authorities. To launch, use Older Americans Act funds or tap into local nonprofit health systems' community benefits or United Way health impact funds.
 
Read more about the program in the Herald Palladium and Moody on the Market. Questions? Contact Lynn Kellogg, lynnkellogg@areaagencyonaging.org.
 
For more information about the 2020 winners, see the press release and read the book of winners! To read about past winners and find other best practices for your agency to consider, visit our Best Practices Clearinghouse page.

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