Groupe Harmonie

Services de soutien destinés aux personnes de 55 ans et plus aux prises avec des problèmes de dépendance

Specific approach

  • 10-15% of adults over 60 who use first line health care services have a problem involving alcohol; this percentage would increase to between 14-30% for those in emergency rooms of hospitals for short-term care1.
  • 1 adult in 10 has a problematic usage of alcohol, drugs, or other(s) substance(s).
  • Between 6 and 10% of adults over 55 have problems with alcohol2.
  • Canadian Seniors consume 45% of all prescription drugs sold even though they constitute only 12% of the population 3.

The current situation:

Most often, seniors live with their substance abuse problem in isolation.

Often, loss of mobility, depression and tremors are seen as symptoms of normal aging; consequently, they often do not receive the attention they need..

Prejudice towards substance abuse problems among adults over 55 still exists and can cause people to not view the senior as an individual with his/her own unique issues.

Too often interventionists insist: « Stop drinking first, and then we can help you. » Meanwhile, the mental and physical health of the person deteriorates and they end up in a crisis situation in an ER and afterwards they will be returned to their home until the next emergency.

Note also that the older we are, the less we ask for assistance. The fear of being a nuisance, or just the fact of not knowing where to turn, are both barriers to seeking help

The shame and guilt of having a drinking or drug problem are also barriers to the formation of helping relationships. Drinking or using alone, where no one can see and judge, is easily developed.

Our specific approach:

The number of people asking for follow-up services is growing rapidly. These people are struggling with trying to minimize the adverse consequences of their drug/alcohol abuse.

It is important to note that with minimal assistance, it is possible to change drug abuse habits and to improve a person’s quality of life and at any age.

The person abusing the drug does not necessarily need specialized help, but just to be greeted warmly and listened to with empathy. Even a few words of encouragement can bring hope and stimulate their desire to take action by showing them that they have the power to positively change their life.

The road to recovery for each person is unique, that is why relationships are the best way to cause individual improvement. We believe that change is a process, not an end in itself. We also believe that each person has the ability to change and to make changes by themselves. Our main role is to accompany and motivate individuals throughout their journey.

The process of change can take anywhere from a few days to several years, so as often as possible our interventionists and volunteers commit to each individual long-term in order to avoid frequent changes that would break the bonds of trust which are a necessary in the healing process.

Over the years we have seen the benefits of our approach. These successes prove to us the importance of what we do. Thank you for believing in our cause.

For more information, click RA 2014-2015 – VF to view our Annual Report 2014-2015.

1. FQCRPAT, 1999
2. Centre de toxicomanie et de santé mentale (CAMH), Seeking solutions, 2004

3. Gander and District Continuing Care Program and the Seniors Resource Centre, 1994


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