Think Wise, Age Well
The need to improve support for older people experiencing substance misuse problems has been highlighted by both Alcohol Concern and the Welsh Government in recent years.
In 2017, the Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse (APoSM) report Substance misuse in an ageing population highlighted growing concerns relating to substance misuse among older adults (over 50s), particularly alcohol. The report identified that not only are older adults more likely to exceed the Chief Medical Officers recommended drink limits than younger adults, but more than 87 per cent of people in Wales aged 65 plus report regularly taking prescribed medication for a year or more. In response, APoSM recommended that specialist training is needed across Wales in the area of substance misuse for services who support older adults. The recommendation has led to the development of Think Wise, Age Well.
Think Wise, Age Well provides tailor-made Train-the-Trainer courses for specialist and non-specialist services that support older adults. The training provides awareness and information about the causes and effects of substance misuse by older clients, the impact this may have, and how to intervene, as well as strengthening referral pathways to substance misuse services
The training is designed to enable professionals to:
- recognise older adults (over 50s) that may be experiencing problems with substance misuse (including alcohol, drugs and prescription-only medication)
- understand local and regional care pathways
- build skills and confidence to talk about substance misuse in a sensitive way
- signpost and refer to appropriate services or support
- enhance skills and practice
- challenge attitudes and stigma around older adults and substance misuse
- develop communication skills
- build upon substance misuse awareness
In addition, participants of the training will receive a manual which provides detailed information associated with the learning from the course. This can also be used as a point of reference once the training has been completed.
Substance misuse in an ageing population provides a complete overview on the substance misuse issues amongst Wales’ ageing population. It highlights issues which have been reported recurrently over the previous decade by organisations such as Drink Wise, Age Well, Substance Misuse and Ageing Research Team (SMART) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Due to its ongoing success, Think Wise, Age Well is modelled on the good practice of the Drink Wise, Age Well program. It is delivered by DACW member Barod Cymru and supported by Alcohol Concern.
People who have attended the Drink Wise, Age Well training said:
“I found the training very informative, particularly the individual perception of alcohol measurements and statistics relating to alcohol consumption; the session is so relevant and informs practice.”
Social Worker, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council
“Outstanding training. Delivered at a good pace and was very informative. The trainer delivered with passion and knowledge on the subject matter.”
Team Leader, Gwent Drug and Alcohol Service
Implementation of the program will take place in three stages over three years, which will involve reaching out to three main areas in Wales with a high proportion of older people experiencing substance misuse issues.
- Hywel Dda University Health Board (LHB) is situated in the Dyfed region of Wales has been identified by Barod Cymru as an area which has a substantial need for older person’s substance misuse services. Hywel Dda LHB also has the second highest percentage of residents aged 65 or over in Wales (24%). This area is served by DACW members Barod Cymru and Kaleidoscope through the Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service (DDAS), and is the first area planned for the implementation of Think Wise, Age Well (during 2017-2018).
- Betsi Cadwaladr UHB is situated in North Wales and also has a high proportion of residents aged 65 plus (23%, rising to 27% in Conwy). DACW member CAIS operates in this region and is the second area planned for the implementation of Think Wise, Age Well (2018-2019).
- Powys Teaching Health Board has the highest proportion of people aged 65 or over in Wales (26%) and also faces significant rurality challenges. DACW members Kaleidoscope and CAIS both operate in Powys and is the third area planned for the implementation of Think Wise, Age Well (2019-2020).
Call the Drink Wise Age Well team on 0800 161 5780 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Or find out more about about the project by clicking here to visit our website.