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All About Alcohol Abuse Among Seniors

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on April 24, 2015

Caregivers and family members, who may not realize a loved has a drinking problem until serious health problems arise, often overlook senior alcoholism. In some instances, alcoholism is mistaken by family members or hourly Phoenix caregivers for other health conditions that mask the true problem. If you’re concerned your elderly relative hits the bottle a little too hard, it’s important to know the signs of alcoholism and how to get help.

Signs of Alcoholism 

Many seniors enjoy a drink socially or with dinner, however, having more than one drink a night or more than seven drinks a week could signify a problem. The following are also symptoms of alcoholism:

  • Increased tolerance
  • Hiding alcoholic beverages
  • Drinking alone
  • Drinking in response to emotional distress
  • Anger when not drinking
  • Problems with medication interactions
  • Financial or health problems caused by alcohol

Effects of Alcoholism in the Elderly 

The aging process can change how a person’s body metabolizes alcohol, and medications, emotional distress and health conditions can alter a senior’s ability to manage his or her drinking.

Alcohol can be particularly dangerous for senior adults who may be more prone to fall-related injuries if drinking increases drowsiness or dizziness, especially seniors receiving post-stroke care in Phoenix. Many senior adults also take medications that can have adverse side effects when mixed with alcohol. Long-term effects of alcoholism may include cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage, and worsening of health conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis.

How to Get Help for Elderly Alcoholism 

First, consider talking your senior loved one’s doctor about your concerns or if you need help approaching your loved one who may be reluctant to find help on his or her own. Then, use the following strategies to help them through the recovery process:

  • Provide transportation to counseling and therapy sessions
  • Make sure your loved one has regular social interaction
  • Help locate 12-step programs and other types of support groups
  • Keep an eye open for signs of a relapse
  • Offer encouragement for the progress your loved one makes

If you’re concerned your senior loved one might be abusing alcohol, first and foremost talk with the family and his or her physician. You might also consider finding a caregiver in Phoenix who can provide hourly or live-in care, and who can monitor your loved one’s behavior as well as provide emotional support during a difficult time. Schedule a complimentary in-home consultation with a trusted Care Manager from Home Care Assistance in Phoenix to learn more about the services available in your area. Give us a call today at (602) 338-1085 and find out how we can help your loved one maintain a happy, healthy life.