COAPS support older adults with behavioral health issues in various ways including:
- Crisis support
- Development of community roles and natural supports
- Individual advocacy
- Self help
- Self improvement
The COAPS program prepares older adults in recovery to provide hope, empowerment, choices and opportunities to other older adults through support and shared experiences. COAPS work with older adults in developing, maintaining and improving positive social supports and networks.
Over 20% of all older adults experience a behavioral health disorder such as depression, but these needs are often neglected by both traditional mental health programs and health care providers.
COAPS are trained to work with older adults in a variety of settings such as senior centers, senior housing units, and health clinics. They are important partners in meeting the needs of older adults as COAPS are well equipped to engage older adults in services, guide them through the recovery process, and help them navigate the health care and social services systems.
Peer support is based on the premise of mutuality. Peers represent a form of social support that public health and medical research has long recognized as a beneficial factor enhancing the quality of life and healthy living of persons with any chronic medical conditions. Peer specialists, specifically educated in the issues of aging and the principles of wellness and coaching, represent a potent under-utilized resource to help others with serious mental illnesses in the pursuit of physical wellness and improved health outcomes.