Mona Huff, community organizer, presents at an event
Mona Huff, community organizer, presents at an event

A symposium hosted by the University of Louisville Trager Institute will offer insight into the dangers of medication misuse and addiction for older adults, alternative solutions to chronic pain management and advocacy for making alternative pain strategies accessible for older adults.

The free community event, titled “Reconciling Pain and Giving Hope to Seniors,” is Monday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the John W. Black Community Center located in Oldham County.

“There is often a stigma around talking about pain and pain management, in addition to a lack of understanding of options beyond opioids,” said Mona Huff, UofL Trager Institute community organizer. “Good health starts with self care and loving yourself. It means asking for help when you need it. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength.”

Speakers include:

  • Anna Faul, PhD, of the UofL Trager Institute, will provide an overview of the UofL Trager Institute’s older adult pain management efforts
  • Sarah Lawrence, PharmD, on “Pain and the Senior Adult”
  • Rev. Dr. John Inscore Essick on “Talking About the Ways We Hurt”
  • Sarah Teeple on “Natural Strategies for Pain Management: Your Holistic Toolkit”
  • Justin Magnuson on “Compassionate Touch and Massage Therapy”
  • Andrea Helton “Acupuncture’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic and a New Pain Management Model”

Other panel discussions and support groups are scheduled throughout the day.

This symposium is part of a broader effort led by the UofL Trager Institute to address opioid misuse among older adults, especially for those living in rural communities. Of the 173 patients who have received services through the UofL Trager Institute’s FlourishCare program, medication management issues related to opioid prescriptions and interactions with other medications were a factor for nearly 50% of patients. Medication safety also proved to be a problem, with family members or caregivers taking opioids from patients in at least 10% of cases.

Thanks to recently awarded supplemental funding with the UofL Trager Institute’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, the Institute has expanded its efforts in addressing older adult pain management. Expanded activities include increased screenings, student and professional trainings and community education.

Lunch is provided for those who RSVP to the symposium by May 7. 

This event is held in partnership with the Kentucky Coalition for Healthy Communities, Tri-County Community Action Partnership, Barren River Area Development District and the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development District.