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Older Adults

Adults age 65 and older represent an ever-growing portion of the United States population. This page contains a variety of resources to help integrated primary and behavioral health care providers prepare their services to align with the unique needs of older adults.

Behavioral Health Identification and Treatment
Screening and Assessment Tools
Evidence-based Practices
Workforce
Financing
Resources for Individuals and Families
• Federal and National Entities for Older Adults’ Health


Featured Resource

Growing Older: Providing Integrated Care for an Aging Population is a new publication from the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions that offers tips for safety-net primary care providers to be prepared to meet the behavioral health needs of older adults. 


Behavioral Health Identification and Treatment

In older adults, behavioral and cognitive conditions often present differently than younger adults. These resources provide information to help understand these differences.

General Resources

Depression and Suicide

Substance Use


Screening and Assessment Tools

There are many screening tools for behavioral health conditions, many of which are appropriate for adults of all ages. Learn more about these assessments on our screening tools page.

In addition to screening for behavioral health conditions, such as depression and substance use, you may want to assess the cognitive functioning for older adults. Here are a few tools to help.


Evidence-Based Practices

Evidence-based practices are a great resource for identifying clinical, organizational and systems level changes to improve care for older adults. These programs are specifically designed and tested for use with older adults.

  • Improving Mood-Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment (IMPACT) is a collaborative care approach to treat depression or dysthymia that involves a trained depression care manager, patient, primary care provider and psychiatrist.
  • Wellness Initiative for Senior Education (WISE) is a curriculum-based health promotion program related to health behaviors, the aging process, managing care, medication management and signs of alcohol misuse and depression.
  • EnhanceWellness is an outpatient intervention that helps older adults with chronic health conditions manage their illness and avoid psychiatric medications, physical inactivity, depression and social isolation.
  • Senior Reach is a training designed for community partners to identify older adults experiencing mental health and related concerns and help get them into recovery-oriented behavioral health treatment.
  • Healthy IDEAS (Identifying Depression, Empowering Activities for Seniors) is a depression self-management program that includes screening and assessment, education, referral to appropriate health professionals and behavioral activation.
  • Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) is a community-based intervention for individuals with depression or dysthymia that helps reduce symptoms and suicidal ideation through problem-solving, social and physical activation and pleasant activity scheduling.
  • Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly: Collaborative Trial (PROSPECT) is designed for primary care physicians to recognize depression and suicidal risk and manage treatment.

Workforce

These resources detail the key competencies and guidelines the integrated care workforce needs to understand how to provide quality care and services to older adults.


Financing

Medicare is the major payer of integrated health care for older adults. The following resources provide information for understanding Medicare’s role in the financing of primary care, behavioral health and other specialty medical care.

  • The Financial Alignment Initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) helps states to better align Medicare and Medicaid programs to ease provision of integrated primary, acute, behavioral health and long-term services and supports for Medicare-Medicaid enrollees.
  • Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to the Medicare patients they serve. Medicare's Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) webpage reviews the ACO model and current ACO programs.
  • Medicare’s Drug Coverage Part D webpages answer frequently asked questions and provide information on what Medicare drug plans cover.
  • Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services provides information on the preventive services Medicare covers, how often, who can get services and the cost.

    Find more financing resources in our financing section.

Resources for Individuals and Caregivers

Caregivers, neighbors, friends and families also play a part in supporting older adults’ primary and behavioral health. These resources provide information for individuals and families on how to help. 

  • The Eldercare locator allows users to search by zip code for local resources supporting health and health promotion of older adults.
  • The Caregiver Action Network Family Caregiver Toolbox provides resources, videos, checklists and tips for conversations on a variety of topics for caregivers of older adults.
  • Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults is an in-person training for anyone who wants to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, including risk factors and warning signs. This 8-hour training teaches participants a 5-step action plan to help a person in crisis connect with professional, peer, social and self-help care.
  • The Veterans Administration provides shared-decision making worksheets for veterans and their caregivers to discuss long-term care needs and caregiver roles and responsibilities.
  • The Administration on Aging’s Elder Abuse Resources provide information on elder abuse, prevention, reporting and who to call for help.
  • Elder Abuse and its Prevention: Workshop Summary summarizes the 2013 Institute on Medicine Forum on Global Violence Prevention workshop on elder abuse and its prevention. The workshop discussion focused on the prevalence and characteristics of elder abuse around the world, risk factors for abuse and adverse health outcomes, and intervention models and opportunities for prevention across sectors.
  • The Family Caregiver Alliance’s Family Care Navigator tool helps caregivers find state-specific resources on legal help, government health and disability benefits, living arrangements and services and education for caregivers.
  • The National Alliance for Caregiving creates resources for caregivers to address challenges of caring for a loved one and also develops guides for professionals on working effectively with caregivers. 

Federal and National Entities for Older Adults’ Health

  • The Administration on Community Living is the Federal agency responsible for increasing access to community supports for older Americans.
  • The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, leads research on the nature of aging and is the primary Federal agency conducting Alzheimer’s research.
  • AARP Health provides information on Medicare, brain health, health conditions and treatment and prescription drugs for adults age 50 and older.
  • The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry provides a search tool for finding a geriatric psychiatrist as well as resources for educators, clinicians and researchers specializing in geriatric psychiatry.
  • The National Council on Aging provides resources for health care professionals, caregivers and advocates on benefits, healthy aging and public policies impacting older adults.
  • The Veterans Affairs Geriatrics and Extended Care Services has information for older veterans on health care and benefits, home and community based services and shared decision making.
  • The American Geriatrics Society provides clinical guidelines and recommendations for health care professionals to build clinical competence in serving a variety of needs of older adults.

Call Our Helpline: 202-268-7457

Adults age 65 and older represent an ever-growing portion of the United States population. This page contains a variety of resources to help integrated primary and behavioral health care providers prepare their services to align with the unique needs of older adults.

Behavioral Health Identification and Treatment
Screening and Assessment Tools
Evidence-based Practices
Workforce
Financing
Resources for Individuals and Families
• Federal and National Entities for Older Adults’ Health


Featured Resource

Growing Older: Providing Integrated Care for an Aging Population is a new publication from the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions that offers tips for safety-net primary care providers to be prepared to meet the behavioral health needs of older adults. 


Behavioral Health Identification and Treatment

In older adults, behavioral and cognitive conditions often present differently than younger adults. These resources provide information to help understand these differences.

General Resources

Depression and Suicide

Substance Use


Screening and Assessment Tools

There are many screening tools for behavioral health conditions, many of which are appropriate for adults of all ages. Learn more about these assessments on our screening tools page.

In addition to screening for behavioral health conditions, such as depression and substance use, you may want to assess the cognitive functioning for older adults. Here are a few tools to help.


Evidence-Based Practices

Evidence-based practices are a great resource for identifying clinical, organizational and systems level changes to improve care for older adults. These programs are specifically designed and tested for use with older adults.

  • Improving Mood-Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment (IMPACT) is a collaborative care approach to treat depression or dysthymia that involves a trained depression care manager, patient, primary care provider and psychiatrist.
  • Wellness Initiative for Senior Education (WISE) is a curriculum-based health promotion program related to health behaviors, the aging process, managing care, medication management and signs of alcohol misuse and depression.
  • EnhanceWellness is an outpatient intervention that helps older adults with chronic health conditions manage their illness and avoid psychiatric medications, physical inactivity, depression and social isolation.
  • Senior Reach is a training designed for community partners to identify older adults experiencing mental health and related concerns and help get them into recovery-oriented behavioral health treatment.
  • Healthy IDEAS (Identifying Depression, Empowering Activities for Seniors) is a depression self-management program that includes screening and assessment, education, referral to appropriate health professionals and behavioral activation.
  • Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) is a community-based intervention for individuals with depression or dysthymia that helps reduce symptoms and suicidal ideation through problem-solving, social and physical activation and pleasant activity scheduling.
  • Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly: Collaborative Trial (PROSPECT) is designed for primary care physicians to recognize depression and suicidal risk and manage treatment.

Workforce

These resources detail the key competencies and guidelines the integrated care workforce needs to understand how to provide quality care and services to older adults.


Financing

Medicare is the major payer of integrated health care for older adults. The following resources provide information for understanding Medicare’s role in the financing of primary care, behavioral health and other specialty medical care.

  • The Financial Alignment Initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) helps states to better align Medicare and Medicaid programs to ease provision of integrated primary, acute, behavioral health and long-term services and supports for Medicare-Medicaid enrollees.
  • Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to the Medicare patients they serve. Medicare's Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) webpage reviews the ACO model and current ACO programs.
  • Medicare’s Drug Coverage Part D webpages answer frequently asked questions and provide information on what Medicare drug plans cover.
  • Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services provides information on the preventive services Medicare covers, how often, who can get services and the cost.

    Find more financing resources in our financing section.

Resources for Individuals and Caregivers

Caregivers, neighbors, friends and families also play a part in supporting older adults’ primary and behavioral health. These resources provide information for individuals and families on how to help. 

  • The Eldercare locator allows users to search by zip code for local resources supporting health and health promotion of older adults.
  • The Caregiver Action Network Family Caregiver Toolbox provides resources, videos, checklists and tips for conversations on a variety of topics for caregivers of older adults.
  • Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults is an in-person training for anyone who wants to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, including risk factors and warning signs. This 8-hour training teaches participants a 5-step action plan to help a person in crisis connect with professional, peer, social and self-help care.
  • The Veterans Administration provides shared-decision making worksheets for veterans and their caregivers to discuss long-term care needs and caregiver roles and responsibilities.
  • The Administration on Aging’s Elder Abuse Resources provide information on elder abuse, prevention, reporting and who to call for help.
  • Elder Abuse and its Prevention: Workshop Summary summarizes the 2013 Institute on Medicine Forum on Global Violence Prevention workshop on elder abuse and its prevention. The workshop discussion focused on the prevalence and characteristics of elder abuse around the world, risk factors for abuse and adverse health outcomes, and intervention models and opportunities for prevention across sectors.
  • The Family Caregiver Alliance’s Family Care Navigator tool helps caregivers find state-specific resources on legal help, government health and disability benefits, living arrangements and services and education for caregivers.
  • The National Alliance for Caregiving creates resources for caregivers to address challenges of caring for a loved one and also develops guides for professionals on working effectively with caregivers. 

Federal and National Entities for Older Adults’ Health

  • The Administration on Community Living is the Federal agency responsible for increasing access to community supports for older Americans.
  • The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, leads research on the nature of aging and is the primary Federal agency conducting Alzheimer’s research.
  • AARP Health provides information on Medicare, brain health, health conditions and treatment and prescription drugs for adults age 50 and older.
  • The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry provides a search tool for finding a geriatric psychiatrist as well as resources for educators, clinicians and researchers specializing in geriatric psychiatry.
  • The National Council on Aging provides resources for health care professionals, caregivers and advocates on benefits, healthy aging and public policies impacting older adults.
  • The Veterans Affairs Geriatrics and Extended Care Services has information for older veterans on health care and benefits, home and community based services and shared decision making.
  • The American Geriatrics Society provides clinical guidelines and recommendations for health care professionals to build clinical competence in serving a variety of needs of older adults.

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Phone: 202-684-7457