Handling Substance Abuse in Older Adults | Unlimited Care

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Handling Substance Abuse in Older Adults

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a steady increase in substance abuse in older adults in the past few years. Notably, the Covid-19 pandemic has hastened the abuse of drugs in older adults. Unfortunately, most seniors don’t know how to deal with substance abuse, and that is where we come in to help.

During the pandemic, older adults went through fear, anxiety, loneliness, loss, and trauma, contributing to a steep increase in substance misuse. The turn of events can result in severe health problems in older adults. So, it would be best if you got equipped with the techniques of handling substance abuse in seniors.

Different types of substance abuse affect seniors as well. Here are some ways of handling substance abuse in older adults: Click To Tweet

Dealing with Loss and Trauma

Losing a loved one, a child, or a spouse can throw an older adult into depression, and while seeking comfort, they might abuse drugs. For that reason, seniors must learn how to deal with loss and trauma to help affected older adults.

To help seniors, be close to them to encourage and comfort them. Also, advise them to do exercises, take outdoor tours and avoid staying alone in their homes. Taking some time to grieve is a part of therapy, but being antisocial can lead to drug abuse.

Types of Substance Abuse 

  • Alcohol: It is the most abused drug by older adults since it is readily available, and some barely notice they are abusing it until it is too late.
  • Prescribed drugs: Most older adults abuse prescribed drugs like opioids, stimulants, sedatives, and anti-anxiety. The addiction may result from continued use of the drug.
  • Marijuana: Although some people use cannabis for medical purposes, some older adults will take it for recreational purposes. 

How You Can Help Your Loved Ones

Most older adults fall victim to substance abuse due to loneliness and anxiety. Handling substance abuse in older adults starts with being close to them. Also, try talking to them about their drug abuse behavior and how it impacts their health.

Handling such conversations with a senior may be uncomfortable and requires patience and wisdom. Don’t sound judgemental; instead, show concern and empathy. You can also engage a professional caregiver who will care for them in your absence.

Learning to Cope with Substance Abuse in Seniors 

Substance abuse in older adults is quite sensitive. Learn how to talk it through and suggest where the senior can get professional help. You can enroll them in therapies and counseling programs to help them become drug-free.

Connect with us to learn more about creating a healthy lifestyle for your loved ones.