According to the National Council on Drug and Alcohol Dependence, there are approximately 2.4 million older adults in the U.S.A. who are suffering from the issues of drugs and alcohol. However, despite its frequency among seniors, substance abuse has been labeled as an invisible epidemic by the (SAMHSA)Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In this critical topic, awareness is essential for a caregiver to protect their older adults as the lifeguard. Caregivers are primarily on the top lines of these issues, after all, by respectability of their duties. This substance abuse has no boundary age; whether you are in your 20s or 80s, you may see many people who are taking drugs and drinking alcohol without any legal authorities. As it is a way of coping with anxiety, depression, grief, or pain. While substance abuse is influenced at any age, seniors are exceptionally helpless to its effects. These general effects happen to the adult age group, and senior groups are also more likely to suffer injuries with more acute side effects. Older adults are also having a considerable risk of experiencing harmful drug interactions.

In fact, approximately 25-35% of people ages 72 to 86 are facing these substance abuse issues, while 2.7% of adults aged 50 to 61 have had drinking problems. In comparison, 3.6% of adults ages 60 to 64 have used illicit drugs.

While illicit drugs, like heroin and marijuana, may not be very harmful to seniors, the over-rate prescription medications of treatment for chronic illness are not easy to abuse. Still, it is easy for caregivers and doctors to overlook the symptoms of behavioral disorders and numerous common issues among seniors, including everything from dementia to diabetes. Moreover, a caregiver is more likely to be at the first whenever any injury occurs.

Acknowledging the Symptoms Of Substance Abuse In Seniors.

The most tricky and confusing thing is to recognize the signs of alcohol and drug abuse in seniors because sometimes ordinary people can not guess the problems of the seniors as they think that these are normal at this age. However, some of the main symptoms can also be signs of balance loss, dementia, or other things we associate with aging.

There are some types of signs by which you can recognize the abuse problems in seniors are:

  • Change in sleeping habits.
  • Mood swings, especially slippage or Memory loss.
  • Mysterious injury.
  • Mood swings, especially toward impatience.
  • Chronic pains.
  • An unusual desire to be alone.
  • Hygiene issues.
  • Having less interest in doing day-to-day activities.
  • Declining to stay in contact with loved ones.

Now, you might say that this could be anything. It could be Alzheimer’s, depression, or any other sort of illness. But, as you look with deep eyes, then you will recognize that none of these signs are good. If you notice any of these listed signs, then you should talk to the doctor in a very immediate time. If there aren’t any other credible or interpretable causes, then substance abuse could be the reason. If it is, or you consider it might be, it is essential to get help as soon as possible.

How Caregivers Can Treat And Help To This Senior Abuse Problem.

If any senior relative has any type of substance abuse-related issues, then you don’t have to worry, because there is always a hope. Recognizing and Understanding the signs of senior substance abuse and how you can get help can help save their lives. There are various types of treatment options when it comes to handling senior medications, including educating and knowing the information to seniors about the risk they are gripping with the intake of drugs and alcohol.

However, identifying the problem is the crucial step towards getting treatment. As a caregiver, you have to share love and concern, especially when you admire in terms of your senior attributes, values, and the things in their life that would be the most natural boots to get help for a drug or alcohol problem while spending quality time with grandkids, leaving a positive legacy, learning a new hobby, etc.

So caregivers should look for when they are attempting to determine the care for their loveable seniors whether they have drug or alcohol issues. It is normal to have any type of abuse problem nowadays, but it is more critical for you to have any treatment for it.

  • As a caregiver, you can encourage them to go outside in the pure nature, and you can make them do some outdoor activities like exercising, walking, and check out other little things in nature. Because doing physical activities and exercising outside can give you an excellent way to get into better shape.
  • Detoxing involves the necessary part for the seniors who are going through the withdrawal process. The caregiver can take them to the center of treatment therapy like teens have their Teens Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in the world as well as there are many treatment centers for the seniors also, which provides proper medication. Because you can not take any type of risk with their life, as a caregiver, you have to give all the safe medication and treatment by which they can feel happy and sober. If they have a habit of heavy and harsh, you will be suggested to go to the doctor or any rehabilitation centers to manage their substance abuse symptoms.
  • Support Groups can also play a significant role in someone’s life. As a caregiver, you have to take care of the sounds with whom they talk and live around. These little things make a huge difference in one’s addiction. Group therapy is also a very successful treatment in the world of alcoholism. You can go with them out for a picnic, adventure, and many other activities. Talking and spending time with sober groups will divert the mind from another type of addiction.
  • As a caregiver, show some interest in their passions and hobbies, which they are doing with whole heart and love to do. Support your older adult by asking and knowing about their interest and amusement to make them feel comfortable and happy in what they enjoy doing. Sharing your knowledge and listening to their interest will make their abuse issues and your relations more robust with each other.



While this type of substance abuse among seniors is a genuine issue, being a caregiver can play a vital role in providing and helping them overcome this problem. There are types of treatment given in the above article by which you can provide your older adults with a very sober and happy life ahead. One thing that is essential to know is that as a caregiver, whichever treatment you are into, clear communications and a respectful manner will be the necessary part of the recovery process.


Author Bio:


Monika Heft is an enthusiastic blogger who explores the field of addiction recovery. With her blogs, She provides awareness and knowledge about different types of addiction recovery.


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