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Promoting Older Women’s Engagement in Recovery

POWER is a collaborative project aimed at the prevention of opioid misuse in older women, aged 55+, in Cambridge and Somerville. IHR will work with our partners at Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville Cambridge Elder Services, and the Cambridge Council on Aging to address the risk factors of opioid misuse facing older women in our local communities. This will be achieved through a combination of technical assistance to partner sites and direct support groups for women 55+ themselves. IHR will work with partner sites to provide training to relevant staff on the issues of addiction in older women, the risks and benefits of opioid use for pain in older women, and the recognition of trauma and its potential link to opioid misuse. POWER will also offer support groups for women 55+ on location at our partner sites to address the risks factors leading to potential opioid misuse. The overall goal of the project is to promote prevention activities in providers and clients, while also seeking to learn more about how opioid misuse affects this under-served and under-studied population of women ages 55+.

Our Strategy

POWER addresses opioid misuse in older women through primary and secondary prevention strategies targeting the general public, healthcare staff who work directly with older women, and women age 55+ themselves. Based on a needs assessment and using evidence-based practices, POWER is currently engaged in three main intervention strategies:

  • Public Awareness Campaign: Distribution of educational materials and appearances on cable access TV
  • Staff Training at Partner Agencies: Basic information on opioids and addiction; Elder SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment) trainings; Addressing the intersection of trauma and pain
  • Psycho-Educational and Support Groups for Women 55+: Information about opioids; Tools for dealing with pain and trauma; Support around older life issues and reducing isolation

If you are interested in learning more or collaborating with POWER, please contact:

Veronica Nuzzolo, PhD, CADC
POWER Project Coordinator

Short title
Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health
Area served
Cambridge and Somerville, Mass.