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Course Design

Photo of a notebook with a pen resting in the middle

As this course brings two distinct areas of practice together it has been designed to offer information for people working in the fields of addiction or ageing and allow for the development of an online community of practice.

A community of practice is defined as ‘a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact’. As we are covering core materials from both fields learners with expertise in one of the two areas may wish to navigate their own learning, and perhaps not need to explore, in detail, aspects already familiar to them. We hope however that the opportunity to reflect on the intersection between both subjects prompts new learning, and trust, through commentary and online discussion, strategies for improving our practice emerge.

Course Content

  • Week 1: Welcome to the course In this first week we get to know each other and how we will be learning. We will review and engage in our own ‘attitudes, values and stereotypes’ with respect to what we believe about drug users and layered on top of this, a drug user who is in later life.

  • Week 2: Old Problems new perspectives In this second week, we will conceptualise what we mean about later life; and challenge definitions about problematic substance use. This will help us to merge the two subjects of problematic substance use in later life and tackle ‘old ideas’.

  • Week 3: Everybody has an opinion In the third week, we will have the opportunity to listen to different ‘voices’ on this subject by drawing on experiences from older people, advocates, practitioners, policy makers and researchers. The week will conclude with a webinar discussion to critically reflect on what we have heard, how it has enriched our understanding and challenges our world view.

  • Week 4: Falling down and getting back up The fourth week takes us through sources of evidence on what works including screening and assessment, brief interventions; relapse prevention and management. We will explore a range of engagement approaches and key principles that have been found to be helpful.

  • Week 5: Moving forward This final week of the course, taking into consideration our overall learning, will bring together a range of resources that will facilitate our commitment to action. Strategies will be explored and participants will be invited to formulate a personal action plan.

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Falling Down: Problematic Substance Use in Later Life

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