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News and articles from the Ohio Department of Aging.

Supporting older adults in recovery Bookmark


September is National Recovery Month. Lori Criss, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Ursel McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, discuss how to support recovery for yourself or an older loved one.


Older adults living with mental and substance use disorders can live a healthy and rewarding life with the right treatment.

Take some time this month to learn about prevention, treatment, and recovery services in your community. Share this information with your friends and loved ones.

If you have loved ones who are in recovery, sit with them and learn their stories. Join them in celebrating their success and assure them that you are there to help them through the rough times.

By increasing awareness of the diseases of mental and substance use disorders and offering your support, you can help keep recovery possible for those you care about.

For assistance, contact the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services at 1-877-275-6364 and access more mental health resources for older adults.

Older Ohioans and mental health and substance use disorders:

  • According to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, nearly 460,000 Ohioans suffer from a serious form of mental illness.
  • Stressors such as reduced mobility, chronic pain, frailty, or other health problems can lead to isolation, loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
  • Older adults with mental disorders are more likely than those without them to be smokers, to eat an unhealthy diet, or not exercise regularly.
  • Unintentional drug overdoses caused the deaths of 4,050 Ohio residents in 2016, a 32.8 percent increase from the prior year.
  • Unintentional drug overdoses have been the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Ohio since 2007.
  • Older adults are more likely to have chronic medical conditions and pain controlled by opioid Medication.
  • Prescription opioid misuse increased 66 percent for those aged 50-64 and more than doubled for those aged 65 and older, according to a 2016 CDC report.

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