Archive for August, 2015

Elderly Face Unique Substance Abuse Challenges

August 28, 2015

Older adults have many of the same problems as young people do with alcohol and other drug addictions, plus other issues unique to their age group. Estrangement from family, financial problems, and a host of regrets are nearly universal to people of all ages in recovery. But the elderly also have to deal with greater isolation and changing body chemistry. In addition, the fact that they may have even less accountability and more free time can become negative factors as well.

Treatment programs are seeing an increase in older addicts as “Baby Boomers” – the first generation to experience widespread recreational use of drugs who were born before admitting addiction and seeking help became fashionable – reach their 50s and 60s. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently held the first national forum on drug addiction among the elderly. Federal officials expect the number of seniors with alcohol and other drug problems to leap 150% by 2020.

On the positive side, older addicts who are ready to quit drinking or taking drugs are often more successful in doing so than their younger counterparts. Older clients may be suspicious of therapy, but they tend to keep their appointments. However, their therapy needs to be tailored to their needs: counselors must be respectful of their privacy and have good manners, and the sessions should be shorter and held during the day so seniors don’t have to drive at night.

About 3% of Americans seeking treatment for addiction are over age 60, but the percentage who have addition problems is suspected to be higher. A decade ago, three of four older addicts were battling alcohol abuse, but today about half have problems with drugs other than alcohol.



Exploring Eldercare

August 14, 2015

It’s always too difficult to come to the realization that your parent or other aged loved one suddenly needs help taking care of themselves. After all, our older relatives typically spent their lives taking care of us. The time comes, however, when we realize that our elderly loved ones are no longer able to take care of themselves. Roles are reversed, and suddenly, we are forced to make important life decisions for them.

It may be difficult to determine whether or not your loved one is ready for eldercare services, especially if you do not live nearby or you do not see them that frequently. Additionally, though some elderly people do need help, they might be hesitant to ask for it; some may directly refuse.

So how do you know when a loved one is in need of care? It is essential that you visit their home and spend some good, quality time to determine whether or not they do need eldercare. In order to determine whether they need care, consider the following.

Signs That An Aging Loved One Might Need Care

  • Increasing Forgetfulness: Does the person forget to pay bills, or forget common household duties? Have they left the oven or stove on? Do they remember the date or year? Do they have trouble remembering family members?
  • Weight Loss: Has the person lost a great deal of weight? Do they seem more frail than the last time you saw them?
  • Messy Home/Lack of Cleanliness: Does the home seem to lack order? Does it have an odor? Is the garbage taken out, are the newspapers put away? Does the person bathe on a regular basis?
  • Low Food Supply: Does the person have enough food to eat? Are the supplies spoiled?
  • Low Medicine Supply or Misuse of Medicine: Does the person know how and what medicines to self administer? Are all of their medicines up to date? Have thy been to the doctor recently?
  • Diagnosis of Serious Medical Problem: Has your loved one been diagnosed with a disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or cancer? Do they require regular, professional medical attention? If they live with a loved one (such as a spouse) can the spouse take care of them adequately?
  • Loneliness/Depression: Does the person have regular visitors? Do they see family or friends? Have they recently been widowed?
  • Loss of Mobility: Can the person move adequately enough to get to the restroom or into the shower? Does the person get any regular activity?
  • Confusion: Does the person know who you are? Do they know who they are?
  • Inability to Drive/Transportation Issues: Is the person still driving? Is it safe? Are they able to run errands such as shopping or going to the doctor safely?

If your loved one is having difficulty with any of these issues, it may be time to consider some form of eldercare for your loved one.

Once you and your loved one agree that they do need care, you must investigate the options for eldercare in your area. There are a variety of different possibilities, but based on their needs as well as financial considerations you may decide upon one of the following: care by family member, in-home care by a bonded and insured company, or care at a senior living complex or in a nursing home. Based on your loved one’s financial constraints, you can help them decide which choice is best for them. If possible, take your loved one on a tour of the facilities you are considering together. Let them meet the staff and meet the other residents. Empower your loved one to be a part of the decision-making process.