Can Seniors Get Methadone Maintenance Treatment?

There are an ever-increasing number of seniors entering methadone maintenance treatment for the same reasons other younger adults do. They may have more vulnerability regarding safety in using methadone or pain management issues, but, for many, it may be their last chance of gaining satisfaction and better health in their lives.

Increase in Senior Needs for Methadone Maintenance Treatment

The population of seniors receiving opioid painkillers is growing as are the number of prescriptions that they take daily. These medications play an active role in deteriorating their physical and mental health, even more so than a younger adult and more so than most people realize.

Seniors may have more difficulties dealing with loneliness, the loss of a spouse, lack feelings of self-worth if retired or unemployed, and become depressed due to their aging or health concerns. Turning to substance abuse for these individuals is not hard to imagine.

seniors methadone maintenance

Although not often discussed, seniors suffer from substances abuse, too.

However, there is a tendency, to “chalk it up” to the reasons that seniors tend to be more susceptible to pain and therefore, need more potent painkillers, have the right character not to abuse them, know when to stop using them when negative consequences occur, and; are able to do so without help.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment Assessments

Eligibility for methadone maintenance treatment requires an opioid dependency for more than a year, ability to take methadone safely, and an ability and willingness to comply with program rules such as daily dosing and monitoring.

Every potential candidate for methadone maintenance treatment is evaluated to determine the appropriate levels of care and placement such as inpatient or outpatient care setting during the methadone induction phase, and special services they may need to participate successfully in the program. During this screening, the intake counselor considers many different factors such as:

  • Withdrawal potentials
  • Biomedical conditions and complications including co-existing physical illnesses, communicable diseases or infections, and methadone use safety
  • Emotional or behavioral conditions and complications such as depression, poly-substance abuse or other co-existing mental health issues or cognitive difficulties that need to be addressed
  • Willingness to change
  • Relapse potential
  • Recovery environment including spousal or family support or increased vulnerabilities to abuse, neglect, or homelessness

Methadone Maintenance Treatment Planning For Seniors

Like anyone else, dependence on opioids can become a daily cycle of repeat intoxication and withdrawals with no hope in sight for seniors. According to the SAMHSA, “MAT treatment planners should consider the stressors common to the aging patient”, but, also focus on other areas such as:

  • Increased risk of medication interactions when the patient is prescribed multiple medications.
  • Differentiating between co-occurring disorders and those associated with aging
  • Differentiating between depression and dementia
  • Screening for and treating physical or sexual abuse
  • Developing referral sources that meet patient needs such as with nursing homes
  • Providing psychosocial treatment for age-related stressors and common medical conditions affected by aging process
  • Adjusting medication dosing for their slower metabolism rates

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the MethadoneCenters.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither MethadoneCenters.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.