Older adults are of a different generation. We sometimes keep our pain and suffering from others, which can lead to an increased chance of furthering pain and suffering. The same goes for addiction treatment. Older adults may be reluctant to seek help due to the stigma associated with alcoholism.
However, supportive family and loved ones can help a senior see the need to stop drinking and how an alcohol rehab program can help. Detox enables the individual to quit drinking but can be challenging as they encounter uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
A residential treatment program with medically supervised detox is a safe option for older alcoholic patients due to medical staff being available to monitor progress. Individual therapy and group therapy help seniors explore the root causes of their drinking and understand the triggers that lead to alcohol misuse. For these reasons, an individual must receive an individualized treatment plan when they decide to enter an alcohol rehab program.
Once seniors complete a residential program, they may feel ready to return home. Still, in most cases, it’s best to transition from residential treatment to a program that can help them maintain sobriety and continue learning skills to help them resist the urge to drink.
So what to do?! Here’s a list of programs that could benefit older adults and why they should seek treatment…
Partial Hospitalization Programs
Our partial hospitalization program uses many strategies found in inpatient rehab settings to help individuals fight alcohol addiction. The difference between inpatient and partial hospitalization is that patients participate in individual therapy, group therapy and medication management but can go home at the end of each day.
Intensive Outpatient Programs
Recovery at the Crossroads intensive outpatient program offers individual and group counseling in a supportive environment. Patients may attend IOPs for a few hours per week. An IOP can be a step-down for the individual who still needs support after completing a PHP.
Outpatient Treatment Programs
An older adult who attends an outpatient program after completing a PHP or IOP benefits from the ongoing support of seeing a therapist or counselor for weekly sessions and participating in group therapy as their clinician recommends. Participating in a 12-step support group while attending outpatient appointments can help an older adult achieve long-term sobriety.
Causes of Alcoholism in Older Adults
Some people have used alcohol for most of their lives and continue drinking when they get older. Not every older person who drinks develops alcohol misuse. However, some factors contribute to alcoholism in older adults. Unlike other age groups, many older adults face isolation, and loneliness can lead to drinking. Sadness and depression over the loss of a spouse and a lack of social networks can cause some people to choose alcohol to cope or get through the day. Others may use alcohol to self-medicate when they suffer from chronic pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism in Older Adults
Seniors may try to hide their drinking. They may seem aggressive, confused and irritable when they drink too much and experience memory lapses. Poor personal hygiene, forgetting to pay bills and neglecting to care for the home may be signs that an older adult is misusing alcohol, especially when they were previously responsible and concerned about their appearance. An older adult alcoholic may cut ties with close friends and family but may develop relationships with people who use them to get money or other favors.
How Does Alcohol Affect Older Adults?
Older adults who drink may experience more health problems than their non-drinking peers. Many older adults suffer from cognitive impairments, including memory loss and dementia. Having one or two drinks per day can increase mental and physical challenges. Alcohol use puts older adults at risk for falls and other accidents. When older adults drink excessively, they may become easy targets for scam artists or victims of a crime.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), seniors who misuse alcohol are at risk for cancer, diabetes, congestive heart failure, liver disease, sleep issues and other health problems. An immune system suppressed by excessive alcohol use can leave an older person vulnerable to infections. Additionally, several medications shouldn’t be taken when drinking alcohol. Alcohol can also interfere with how those medications work, increasing the risk of drowsiness and sedation.
When Alcohol Rehab for Older Adults Is Necessary
Older adults who engage in drug abuse, alcohol abuse or prescription drug addiction are at risk for severe illness and accidents and are vulnerable to abuse and scams. When family members or loved ones observe that an older adult’s drinking is a problem, they should explore alcohol rehab.
We Service Florida’s Seniors Too
Even though Recovery at the Crossroads is in Camden County, New Jersey, we have built an extensive network of working with older adults that may be snowbirds or have family back north.
We offer a supportive and caring addiction treatment program for residents of Miami-Dade County, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Broward County, Boca Raton and throughout Jewish communities.
Recovery Is Possible – Start Yours Today!
Regardless of an individual’s age, it’s possible to recover from alcoholism. The key is to help older adults find programs or treatment centers to help them work through the issues that lead to excessive drinking. Good aftercare planning is imperative to help seniors have the support networks needed to maintain sobriety.
If your senior loved one needs help overcoming alcohol addiction, call Recovery at the Crossroads today at 888-342-3881 or visit our website.