Overdose Awareness: Elders Awareness

Tansi Métis Elders, Kokums and Moushoums!

As we start to shift into a new normal, we continue to see the impacts of what COVID-19 has had on our Elders and loved ones.   Unfortunately, one of the major impacts has been the Overdose Crisis.  August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day, and throughout these unprecedented times, we know our most vulnerable and immunocompromised have limited their activities significantly, including visiting family.  Many people who use substances are now using alone and/or more frequently. We know how difficult this can be and that it can take negative lasting toll on your spiritual, emotional, and physical mental wellness. 

Many people believe that substance use only affects youth and young adults, when in fact it affects older adults as well. Below are some signs to watch for in our Elders, Kokum’s, and Moushoum’s who are substance users:

  • Falling
  • Incontinence
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Keeping clean
  • Loosing control over finances
  • Memory becomes worse
  • Hard to focus or make decisions.
  • Loosing interest in your usual activities
  • Having mood swings or feel sad or depressed

Please note: if you have any of these signs, it may not mean you have a drug or alcohol problem. Many of the signs listed here also can be signs of health problems many older adults have. (health link, BC)

August 31st, International Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity for us to come together and support our Elders, Kokums and Moushoums. We can do this by applying the Principles of the Métis Wellness Wheel and through tradition, unity, acceptance, attitude, reclaiming, and the resiliency of our Métis people and culture.

If you’re an Elder struggling with substance use, we want to help please see below for resources available to you!

Seniors Liaison Program
Abbotsford Addictions Centre
2420 Montrose Ave.
Abbotsford BC V2S 3S9
Phone: 604.859.7681
E-Mail: info@abbotsfordcommunityservices.com
Note: Provides assessment, active treatment, and after care to seniors, 55 yrs + who are experiencing alcohol and/or drug related problems.

Seniors Well Aware Program
3rd Floor – 1290 Hornby St.
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1W2
Phone: 604.633.4230
E-Mail: swap@vrhb.bc.ca

306 – 321 6th St.
New Westminster, BC V3L 3A7
Phone: 604.524.8998
Phone: 604.524.8994
E-Mail: info@swapbc.ca

Victoria Innovative Seniors Treatment Approach (VISTA)
2828 Nanaimo St.
Victoria, BC V8T 4W9
Phone: 250.953.3966
Note: For adults 55+ who are experiencing problems related to alcohol, prescription drugs or elder abuse. Outreach services, community based counseling, case consultation, advocacy and community development, education and prevention workshops.

References:

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/ug4806

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/mental-health-support-in-bc/addictions-alcohol-and-other-substances

https://www.bc211.ca/