Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Discovering Alcohol Use In A Senior

The following is a guest post by Melissa, Public Relations Coordinator for St. Jude Retreats – a non 12 step alternative to conventional alcohol and drug rehab.

"If you are currently responsible for the care of a senior citizen whom you believe has a problem with alcohol, things can become tense quickly. First, it's important to know the person's history with alcohol. If you know the person has struggled with alcohol for most of their life, they may be dealing with a deep-seated sense of hopelessness. This feeling of no hope can lead to extreme depression, causing them to drink even more. Warning signs such as outbursts, avoiding social interaction, dilated pupils, and the smell of alcohol are key as well.

"You may be wondering how someone could access alcohol, especially if they do not drive anymore. Well, very simply, alcohol isn’t always needed. The drunk effect can be felt from house hold items such as vanilla extract, mouth wash, or even hand sanitizer. The best practice is to check the trash for empty bottles. 

"There are many reasons why an elderly person may struggle with an alcohol use problem. Many times after their family has grown up and left the house, the loneliness is hard to deal with. These emotions may be an excuse for a person to begin drinking. Another reason may simply be they feel as if they no longer have purpose in life. At this point, drinking brings a comfort to them and a quick sense of relief.

"Even though a senior may think they have nothing left to achieve, they can overcome alcohol use. It is never too late for a senior to seek help or change their habits. It may take some time but there are programs that can help them to find a new sense of purpose. This is something as a caregiver you can work on with them every day. There are home programs for alcohol use that can fit perfectly into a senior’s routine, in turn giving them something new to look forward to.

"Never give up on a senior with a substance use problems. It is never too late for them to change and become the person they want to be. Goals and achievements may be different than 20 years ago, but they can still feel satisfaction and happiness in the later years of life."

If the above post resonates with you and you would like further information about the St. Jude Program, I recommend going to their website: It's packed with helpful features for your review and consideration.

Robert Tell, Author