Key Takeaways

  • Review these community-based programs approved by the Administration for Community Living to be evidence-based to address behavioral health among older adults.  

  • These programs are designed to address symptoms of depression and substance abuse. 

  • Use the Eldercare Locator to find organizations in your area and ask if they offer these programs.

Explore these proven behavioral health programs for older adults. 

Healthy IDEAS (Identifying Depression Empowering Activities for Seniors) 

Healthy IDEAS is a depression self-management program designed to detect and reduce the severity of depressive symptoms in older adults with chronic conditions and functional limitations. It includes screening and assessment, education, referral to appropriate health professionals, and behavioral activation. 

Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives for Seniors (PEARLS) 

PEARLS is a highly effective method designed to reduce depressive symptoms and improve quality of life in older adults and in all-age adults with epilepsy. During six to eight in-home sessions that take place in the client’s home and focus on brief behavioral techniques, PEARLS counselors empower individuals to take action and make lasting changes so that they can lead more active and rewarding lives. 

Brief Intervention and Treatment for Elders (BRITE) 

BRITE is a substance abuse screening and intervention program for older adults who are experiencing issues with alcohol, prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or illicit drugs. The program aims to identify non-dependent substance use or prescription medication issues and provide effective service strategies prior to an individual’s need for more extensive or specialized substance abuse treatment.