The elderly population in northeastern Louisiana is far too often forgotten when it comes to critical efforts involving prescription medications, addictions and mental health challenges and physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities. Recognizing this, Northeast Delta Human Services Authority has launched Operation Golden Years.
“This new initiative provides increased awareness, support and highlights our services for the needs of those 60 and above in our 12-parish region,” said Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, the agency’s executive director. “Our vision is to enable often overlooked seniors to not just survive, but rather thrive through the golden years of their lives.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 850,000 Louisianans are over the age of 60, about 19 percent of the total state population. Northeast Delta leverages existing activities, initiatives and programs to support this population. “Sometimes all our seniors need is consideration, information and opportunity,” said Sizer. “Who among us wants to be forgotten, left alone and uninvolved when we have much to offer?”
The agency offers seniors education and information about prescription medicines. A recent Health Services Research journal study found 4.5 million visits per year to the doctor or emergency department are due to adverse drug events. Northeast Delta’s prevention and wellness team facilitates community forums educating seniors about the proper use and disposal of medicine. Each April and October we partner with other organizations in our region to provide prescription take back boxes as a part of the National Prescription Take Back Day.
No matter how old we are, addiction and mental health issues have no expiration dates. Some people 60 and up are often underestimated and under-diagnosed, preventing some seniors from getting help. “Drug or alcohol abuse can often mimic the symptoms of other medical or mental health disorders, such as diabetes, dementia, or depression,” noted Sizer. “Our integrated behavioral health and primary care integration model enables our licensed clinicians to provide holistic care for our clients’ specific needs.”
Sizer said Northeast Delta advocates for seniors with intellectual and developmental disabilities while providing them with services so they can remain active. “We connect the dots for seniors,” he said. “Our developmental disabilities team connects people with home and community-based services. If it’s the choice that seniors and their families make, we want everyone to stay in their homes as they advance in years.”
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About Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NE Delta HAS)
NE Delta HSA manages the operation of community-based programs that improve the quality of life for individuals with major mental illness, developmental disabilities and addictive disorders. NE Delta HSA accomplishes this by utilizing a nationally recognized integrative approach that identifies and addresses behavioral and primary health care needs.
NE Delta HSA is devoted to delivering programs and services that encourage citizens of Northeast Louisiana to reach their full human potential. Three tenets guide these efforts: excellent customer service, greater access to services and competent, quality care. We serve Caldwell, East Carroll, West Carroll, Ouachita, Lincoln, Madison, Franklin, Morehouse, Jackson, Tensas, Richland and Union Parishes.