Treatment Programs

Substance Use Treatment Program for Older Adults

We mobilize the power of proven treatment for addiction and medical and mental health issues with components designed to address the needs of older adults.

Older couple with eyes closed, hugging each other with their arms on each other's shoulders.

At a Glance

  • A dedicated unit

    offers private rooms in a state-of-the-art medical center.

  • Supportive group therapy

    addresses bereavement, denial, anger, age-related loss, and loneliness.

  • Mobility and medical needs

    are assessed daily.


Highlights of the Older Adults Program

Of the 55 million older adults in the US in 2020, 4.4 million of them will need substance abuse treatment. This issue may go unnoticed by family members and friends. In many cases, even the person with the alcohol or drug problem may not realize the extent of the problem. Being aware of unusual behavior in your loved one is a critical first step in diagnosing a substance use disorder and getting treatment.

With over 65 years of experience, we know that treatment utilizing dialectical and cognitive behavioral therapies is most effective in teaching older adults new coping and relationship skills.

Our program is adapted to a person’s age and physical, emotional, and spiritual condition, and is effective for the use of early intervention, treatment, and relapse prevention.

An Adaptable, Comprehensive Treatment Program

Caron’s specialized Older Adults Program, located at Caron Pennsylvania, addresses addiction along with co-occurring conditions commonly seen in older adults. The daily schedule is crafted to adhere to each patient’s pace with the inclusion of activities that take into account mobility and possible co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Significant medical issues — like chronic pain, diabetes, or cardiac problems — are also taken into account in the patient’s individualized treatment plan. We embrace the power of a personalized, flexible approach to achieving wellness.

Throughout treatment, our interdisciplinary addiction specialists continually reassess and adjust care plans, helping patients build social support networks, gain self-awareness, overcome difficult emotions such as grief and depression, and restore their sense of meaning and purpose.

Treatment Components

  • Treatment of other compulsive behaviors, addiction interaction disorders, which include such as shopping, gambling, sex addiction, spending, eating, etc.
  • Daily supportive group therapy to address issues of bereavement, denial, anger, shame, grief and loss of one’s purpose, age-related loss and loneliness
  • Daily assessment by certified nurse assistants based on mobility and medical needs; nursing and medical coverage 24/7
  • Chronic pain management
  • Medication assessment to ensure appropriate prescription and dosage
  • On-site medically supervised detoxification
  • Psychological assessments, which includes cognitive testing and monitoring for improvement
  • Spiritual counseling
  • Relapse prevention
  • Integrative neurofeedback therapy

Wellness Therapies and Services

  • Art therapy
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Movement therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Yoga
East Lounge

Signs and Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder in Older Adults

Because some of the signs of substance abuse mirror the signs of aging, it can be difficult to recognize if there is an issue or its extent. Medications that many older people take may mask or mimic substance abuse symptoms. The fact that older people generally also drink or take drugs at home alone also makes it difficult to know if they need treatment for substance use disorder.

Due to the normal aging process, drugs and alcohol affect every part of the body differently because it cannot metabolize the same way it had. Here are some signs to evaluate:

  • Agitation
  • Altered liver function
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in mental abilities
  • Changes in eating habits, particularly not eating as much
  • Decline in personal cleanliness
  • Depression
  • Drinking in spite of warning labels on prescription drugs
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Hostility/violence
  • Incontinence
  • Increased confusion
  • Irritability
  • Loss of friends or not staying in regular touch
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Marital problems
  • Memory lapses or impairment
  • Mood swings
  • Not being oriented to date, time and place
  • Panic attacks
  • Problems sleeping and/or sleeping more during the day
  • Repeated falls
  • Slurred speech
  • Solitary or secretive drinking
  • Unable to complete activities of daily living
  • Unexplained burns/bruises

Treatment ends. Our support does not.

The treatment team develops a continuing care plan with tools and recommendations for for the patient. Caron also offers free alumni support activities as well as optional support programs like My Recovery Connection and the Breakthrough Program.

Caron's outpatient treatment in Atlanta, Wyomissing, Pa., Philadelphia, and Greater Washington, D.C. as well as recovery support services at our recovery centers in New York City and Washington, D.C. can also be of assistance.


Let’s talk about your specific needs.

Start a conversation.

We're one call away.

We're here 24-7

When you're ready...

Fill out a form.