Alcohol & Substance Abuse: The Invisible Epidemic for Seniors

Many of us picture the golden years as a time for travel, finding hobbies, and spending time with family and friends. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for many seniors. Substance abuse among older adults is often referred to as an ‘Invisible Epidemic’. Alcohol and prescription drug abuse among adults 60 and older is one of the fastest-growing health problems in the U.S.


Why Does It Happen?

Changes in later life can cause anxiety and stress instead of happiness. These changes can include:


*Loss of loved ones


*Sleep problems

*Family conflict

*Financial concerns

Interestingly men are more apt to abuse alcohol while women are likely to abuse prescription medication. Those living alone are also more susceptible to abuse as are seniors who are disabled, suffer from chronic pain, and/or have a history of substance abuse or mental illness.


The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation also points out our bodies begin reacting differently to alcohol and medications than when we were younger. Taking medications when older may not mix well with each other or alcoholic drinks. Prescription drug misuse and abuse is common among older adults because more drugs are prescribed to them. Getting older makes the body more likely to feel the effects of drugs and alcohol.


What Can You Do When Your Loved One Has A Problem?

Families wonder what they can do when they discover an aging family member has a substance abuse problem and is in danger. Hurley Elder Care Law assists families in this situation. When a loved one is in danger and fails to thrive, one can seek guardianship. This allows the guardian to place the ‘ward’ in a facility or move them to a safer environment.


In addition, seniors who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also be easily scammed and financially exploited. Seeking conservatorship is often the best solution to preserve the financial resources of a loved one.


Hurley Elder Care Law offers complimentary phone consultations. Call our office at 404-843-0121 to share your situation and we are happy to discuss elder law options.



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