Substance Abuse

this image shows two glasses of alcohol over ice

Sex,drugs and Alcohol

Joking apart substance abuse is a big issue amongst older adults and I was delighted when Melissa Hillyer contacted me and asked me it I would like to share her guide and advice on how to help someone you know who may be struggling.

The Often Silent Problem of Seniors and Substance Abuse

When people thing of substance abusers, they almost exclusively think of young people, and consider the problem to be one that has no effect on the elderly.   However more and more people over the age of 65 are struggling with substance abuse than ever before, particularly alcohol. The most recent statistics on the subject reveal that about 9% of people who are aged 65 and older consume more than 30 drinks in any given month as well as regularly drinking more than 4 drinks in any one occasion.

America has a growing aging population, and the number of seniors already accessing Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services in the country make up 17% of the numbers who are regularly using these services. As the aging population continues to grow, this figure will only increase, meaning that we will have face epidemic of substance abuse amongst seniors.

How to Help

If you suspect that you, or that someone you love, may be struggling with a substance abuse problem then there is plenty you can do to help. The first step to rehabilitation though is for the senior in question to want to help themselves. They can do this by admitting they have a problem and seeking help and support, removing all alcohol from their home, and avoid being around people that are drinking heavily, particularly if you’ve had a bad day.

As a loved one of someone in the grips of a substance abuse problem, you can help them simply by listening, and being there to provide emotional support whenever it’s needed. You can also help your loved one to access the help and support they need if they are emotionally frail, or if the thought of doing so becomes overwhelming to them.

Substance abuse amongst seniors is a very real problem, and one that needs addressing in order to remove the stigma that surrounds it, and ensure that those elderly individuals who are suffering receive the help and support that they need.  But with the right help and support, it is a problem that can be overcome.

If you or a relative are affected by this issue and would like some more help please contact me using the contact form at the top of this article.

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Caron

Award-winning blogger and care columnist for Devon Life magazine, Caron also campaigns for recognition of the needs elderly people and their carers. Designer and creator of the award-winning Dementia Assistance Cards which are free to all, and helping thousands of people globally Caron is passionate and committed to making a difference

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