Anyone can experience the effects of alcohol or drug addiction, from newborns to the elderly. The latter has been a recent topic of interest of various government and private organizations, as there are a growing number of addictions amongst the elderly in the United States alone. Knowing how to help an addicted grandfather can help decrease these numbers. Call and find out more about geriatric addiction and how you can help an elderly relative or friend suffering from alcoholism or substance abuse.
“Anyone can experience the effects of alcohol or drug addiction, from newborns to the elderly.”-Projectknow.com
According to a report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 24,254 addicts over the age of 60 were enlisted in an addiction recovery program and seeking treatment in 2005. These numbers do not include the hundreds and, most likely, thousands of older people who have to deal with addiction on their own. SAMHSA estimated that, with the current population of the so-called baby boomers, there will be about 1.9 million addicts aged 60 years and older by the year 2020.
Risk Factors for Addiction
A substantial number of older people, including grandfathers, are abusing alcohol and drugs. There are many risk factors associated with geriatric addiction. If you want to know how to help an addicted grandfather, it is important to recognize these risk factors.
- The elderly use a higher number of over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs due to their sometimes delicate health. This exposes them to more prescription medications, many of which are habit-forming and can induce adverse side effects.
- The biological changes that occur naturally when people age makes it harder for the elderly to manage and metabolize their medicines. This allows the drugs to accumulate in their body, making them more susceptible to drug dependence and addiction. Older people also tend to misuse their medicines due to memory lapses. These psychological and biological changes also make them more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, chronic pain, poor physical health and impaired sensory capabilities, all of which can cause an elderly patient to misuse his or her medications.
- According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 9.9 percent of US citizens aged 65 and above live below the poverty line, and a growing number of the elderly that belongs to this number is forced to live on the streets or in shelters. In recent studies conducted by SAMHSA, 24 to 29 percent of veteran residents living in nursing homes suffer from lifelong alcohol and substance abuse.
- Most family members and even healthcare personnel fail to recognize the signs of addiction among the elderly, thinking that their sudden change in behavior or health conditions are due to failing health. Many elderly people also deny their addiction and believe that they are too old to seek treatment.
Dealing With a Drug-Addicted or Alcoholic Grandfather
Family members who want to know how to help an addicted or alcoholic grandfather should familiarize themselves with treatment and recovery procedures. Older people require tailored treatments for their specific physical, mental and emotional needs. Aside from the individualized addiction treatment programs, it is also important to implement protective measures that address the patient’s existing medical conditions. SAMHSA also advocates an empowering program to help older patients manage their addiction and deal with environmental factors and life stressors.
Learning how to help an addicted grandfather opens your eyes to the realities of the situation. It helps you cope with circumstances that you and your family may need to face in the future. When you are confronted with such a situation, it is important to talk to a specialist who knows how to help a grandfather who is abusing drugs or an alcoholic. Enrolling your elderly family member in a luxury treatment and rehab center can help with the treatment of his mental or physical conditions.
Many treatment centers are reaching out to older addicts who, up until now, have historically been ignored. These detox and rehab centers inform family members on how to help an addicted grandfather and get them into treatment. Call and learn about various treatment and recovery options that are suitable to your or your loved one’s needs.
- Many homeless elderly people are entitled to Social Security benefits, but these are not enough to cover the increasing cost of housing. Even if their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) covers their housing costs, the remaining benefits are not enough to cover living expenses.
- Alcohol and drug abuse were part of the popular culture in the 1960s. Many who developed drug addictions during this period and have not recovered since make up some of the elderly people who are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction today.