Finding Better Ways to Treat Alcohol Abuse Among Seniors

Implementing a substance abuse intervention program in senior housing

The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority created the Resident Education and Assistance Program (REAP) to address problems of undiagnosed substance abuse among elderly residents living in subsidized public and private housing.

The program focused on education and prevention, targeting the senior citizens themselves and their service providers in subsidized housing complexes.

Key Results

  • Through partnership with community hospitals, REAP developed outpatient services as an aftercare component to inpatient treatment and as an alternative to inpatient treatment for seniors.

  • REAP provided a comprehensive education program to the residents of the state's subsidized elderly housing complexes, and offered training programs for housing managers, hospital staff, and other service providers.

  • REAP created a peer support network and promoted the expansion of "over 55" Alcoholics Anonymous groups.

Key Findings

  • In a survey evaluation of the program:

    • Residents, housing managers, and service providers expressed high acceptance of the REAP counseling.
    • Residents reported better awareness of substance abuse and a greater willingness to seek help.