AAA7 and Compass Community Health Partner on Training

October 23, 2013

Recently, the Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) and Compass Community Health/The Counseling Center partnered together on a special training focused on the ways to link older adults with medication, alcohol and mental health resources. The training, held at the Southern Ohio Medical Center Friends Center in Portsmouth, was made available for staff of the AAA7 and Compass. Continuing education credits were available for the 113 staff in attendance. The two organizations collaborated on the training in order to heighten the awareness for staff and develop a strong partnership in order to address the needs of older adults in our local communities.

The training, entitled “Get Connected! Linking Older Adults with Medication, Alcohol and Mental Health Resources” provided attendees with information about alcohol and medication misuse and mental health problems, which can be significant issues for older adults. Our growing life expectancy, coupled with the aging baby boom generation, makes the need to address these issues critical. Professionals in the aging and mental health fields can benefit from trainings that provide further education on the topic and the opportunity to work with seniors and their families more effectively.

Topics at the local training surrounded coping with life transitions, using medications wisely, and keeping a healthy outlook on life. At the completion of the training, staff were better able to: understand how life transitions associated with aging can sometimes lead to problems with alcohol and medications; be familiar with the warning signs of an alcohol/medication problem and why the signs might be hard to detect among older adults; understand the impact alcohol/medication misuse has on the lives of older adults; relate the value of prevention and treatment; and better discuss available treatment options with older adults.

Speakers for the day included: Ed Hughes, CEO of Compass Community Health; Andy Pierron, BS, Pharm, R.Ph., Director of Pharmacy Services at Compass Community Health; Bonnie Dingess, MSW, LISW-S, Director of Long-Term Care Programs at the AAA7; and Debbie Gulley, RN, BSN, Director of Long-Term Care Programs at the AAA7. Welcome and introductions were made by Nina Keller, Assistant Director and Director of Planning for the AAA7; and Andy Albrecht, Executive Director of The Counseling Center.

“This was a wonderful occasion for our two organizations to join together through a training event to learn more about ways we can best help our older adults with these very important issues,” said Pamela K. Matura, Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging District 7. “This type of collaboration provides us with the opportunity to combine our resources and expertise in order to address the behavioral health and variety of other needs for older adults. We are very excited about working with Compass to identify ways we can expand our resources to the community.”

“The training was an important opportunity to link professionals from both disciplines in an effort to address our growing concerns for substance abuse and mental health problems among older adults,” said Ed Hughes, CEO of Compass Community Health. “I have long admired the work of AAA7. Their team of caring professionals creates a perfect partnership for our staff. This training is a beginning point for us to work together to create access to behavioral healthcare services.”

Compass Community Health is a medical and behavioral health organization consisting of Compass Community Health Care Center, The Counseling Center, Inc. and Compass Point Housing. Compass believes that wellness is primarily focused on integrating compassionate care of mind, body and spirit.

Compass Community Health Care Center is always accepting new patients and serving everyone in the community. Call (740) 355-7102 to make a same-day or next-day appointment, or arrange transportation. Please visit for more information.

The Counseling Center, Inc. is available 24/7/365. Please call 740-354-6685, or toll-free 1-800-577-6685 to speak with someone. Find out more about addiction treatment that works at Also, join The Counseling Center’s Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest online communities for weekly updates, educational and recovery stories, local news and events.

Your local Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. provides services on a non-discriminatory basis. These services are available to help older adults and those with disabilities live safely and independently in their own homes through services paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, other federal and state resources, as well as private pay. The AAA7’s Resource Center is also available to anyone in the community looking for information or assistance with long-term care options. Available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm, the Resource Center is a valuable contact for learning more about options and what programs and services are available for assistance.

Those interested in learning more can call toll-free at 1-800-582-7277 (TTY: 711). Here, individuals can speak directly with a nurse or social worker who will assist them with information surrounding the programs and services that are available to best serve their needs. The Agency also offers an in-home assessment at no cost for those who are interested in learning more. Information is also available on, or the Agency can be contacted through e-mail at The Agency also has a Facebook page located at