Helping Older Adults Struggling with Drug or Alcohol Addiction is Vital to Health and Well-Being

Drug and alcohol abuse is not limited to younger people. Many older adults are struggling with addiction. There are ways to help them get the proper treatment to improve their quality of life.

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Helping Older Adults Struggling with Drug or Alcohol Addiction is Vital to Health and Well-Being
3 Min Read July 15th, 2022

Currently, around 54 million people over the age of 65 that live in the United States. Over the past few years, the number of senior citizens addicted to drugs and alcohol has grown substantially. If you have an elderly friend or family member in the throes of addiction, your main goal should be to help them.

The longer you wait to get your addicted loved one help, the harder it will be for them to avoid serious health consequences. Are you attempting to help an elderly loved one struggling with drug or alcohol addiction? If so, here are some things you need to do.

Start By Exploring Addiction Treatment Options

Rarely is an addict able to control their urges to use drugs or alcohol. While an addict might tell you they can stop using at any time, this is usually a lie. To truly help an elderly addict, you must realize the importance of getting them professional help. Getting an addict to agree to a stay in a rehab center can be difficult according to Behavioral Health Centers.

Before you approach an elderly addict about entering rehab, you need to educate yourself about treatment options in your area. Researching addiction treatment facilities will provide you with information about how this process works and what is different about each facility. Once you have this information, you will be better equipped to answer any questions the elderly addict asks.

Open The Lines of Communication

Some people think that tough love is the best way to handle situations involving addiction. While this approach might be successful in some instances, it can also backfire on you. If an elderly addict feels like they are being attacked, they might shut down and push you away. This will only lead to a person with substance abuse issues retreating further into their addiction.

This is why you need to work on keeping the lines of communication open. Allowing your frustration to get the best of you will only make matters worse. Once you recognize the signs of addiction in an elderly loved one, you need to confront them in a loving way. Letting them know how much they care about them and their health is a step in the right direction.

Allowing the addict to vocalize their concerns about treatment is also important. You need to make sure all of the concerns of the addict have been heard and addressed to keep them engaged with this process. After you hear what they have to say, you can respond by letting them know the importance of professional addiction counseling. 

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Staging An Intervention is a Complicated Process

If you want to show an elderly addict how much their behavior affects the people in their life, then staging an intervention is important. As you start to plan an intervention, you need to get everyone involved. Reaching out to both loved ones and addiction recovery professionals in your area is crucial. An experienced professional's help will allow you to get the intervention planned properly.

Allowing everyone to speak to the addict during the intervention process is vital. This will enable the addict to get a feel for how their behavior affects the people around them. In most cases, this will be enough motivation to convince the addict to enter a treatment facility.

Now that you know more about how to help an elderly addict, it is time to implement the tips in this article. While confronting an addict can be difficult, it can save their life. 

Do not ignore the signs of addiction in older family members. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, substance abuse affects about 17% of adults over 60. 

If your loved one lives in a long-term care facility, ensure they get the appropriate treatment. It is also a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for a nursing home to refuse admission simply because a care recipient is prescribed addiction medicines.

Plus, older people tend to take many medications, and the risk of addiction can develop through the use - or misuse of prescription drugs. Quality long-term care facilities will be able to monitor properly and provide the required care. 

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About the Author

Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart - all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere.

LTC News Contributor Ashley Lipman

Ashley Lipman

Contributor since February 12th, 2021

Editor's Note

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