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News Release

   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   October 11, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160

DHSS Awards $179,000 To Develop Programs
In Medication Management for Seniors

TRENTON -The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has awarded $179,000 to Bergen, Middlesex and Passaic counties to develop medication management, screening and education programs for senior citizens to help them and their families become more aware of the potential medical complications for those who are taking more than one medication at a time.

"New Jersey's older adults and their families need to be aware of the potential dangers of taking multiple medications," said acting Commissioner of Health and Senior Services George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD. "These new programs are the latest New Jersey services that will help our older adults improve their quality of life while maintaining their independence and dignity as they age in place."

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, two-thirds of adults over age 65 use one or more drugs each day, and a quarter of them take three drugs each day. A number of potential problems face older adults taking multiple medications, including adverse drug interactions, confusion and impaired motor function.

Bergen County was awarded $62,000 for their program, Passaic County was awarded $45,000 and Middlesex County was awarded $72,000. Each county will run its own program that is tailored to its own senior citizen demographics.

In Bergen County, medication screening and counseling programs will be available at five senior sites - Southwest Senior Activity Center in East Rutherford; Palisades Park Senior Activity Center in Palisades Park; Americas Unidas Senior Activity Center in Hackensack; the Northwest Senior Activity Center in Midland Park; and North Arlington Senior Activity Center in North Arlington.

Special efforts will be made to provide service to Hispanic, Korean/Asian and African-American older adults, as well as to older adults who are hearing impaired. Also planned are "Medication and Senior Health" bulletins and education seminars.

In Middlesex County, the county office on aging will coordinate individual assessments for seniors who are at high risk for adverse medication-related health events.

Family medicine physicians from the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School will help seniors develop medication management plans. UMDNJ's nursing staff will monitor these plans on a weekly basis. Individuals over 60 years of age who are living alone or have no immediate family will qualify for this program. The counseling program will be available for seniors living in New Brunswick, Highland Park, East Brunswick, Edison, North Brunswick and South Brunswick.

In Passaic County, the office on aging will provide in-home medication screening services for older adult residents in Morris and Passaic counties. Individualized plans will be developed for participants to assist them in maintaining optimal health and in remaining in their homes. The Morris County Division on Aging and the Health Councils of Morris and Passaic Counties will partner with the Passaic County Office on Aging in the administration of this program.

The Bergen, Middlesex and Passaic county Offices on Aging were awarded funds to develop these pilot programs through a competitive application process that was based on demonstrated need for the proposed program, the establishment of collaborative relationships for program implementation, and strategies for providing services to diverse senior populations. The funds were provided by the federal Administration on Aging and distributed through New Jersey's Department of Health and Senior Services.

For more information on the programs, call 1-877-222-3737.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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