Alcohol Awareness Month
Since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has marked April as Alcohol Awareness Month to spread awareness and education about alcohol use and potential dangers associated with it.
Alcohol Awareness Month covers all matters related to alcohol, including alcoholism, drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and substance abuse subjects in general.
In this post, we wanted to explore how alcoholism affects seniors, as well as some warning signs to look out for in your loved one.
Alcohol, Seniors, and the Pandemic
In the wake of the global pandemic, issues of alcoholism and alcohol abuse have been brought to the forefront. People found themselves socially isolated, stressed out, and with more time on their hands.
Consequently, alcohol consumption increased drastically. Some may have increased alcohol consumption to pass the time; others to socialize over video calls, and still, others used it as a way to cope with stress.
When it comes to seniors, however, they have been seeing a steady increase in alcoholism over several decades. From 2002-2006, around 2.8 million adults aged 50 and older suffered from substance abuse disorders, including alcoholism.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has only increased this trend, as seniors (who tend to be the most vulnerable) isolated themselves from friends and loved ones to keep themselves safe.
What Can Cause Alcoholism in Seniors?
Seniors go through many life changes, and not all of them are positive. Thus, seniors may turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Some of these changes include:
- Deteriorating health — Alcohol may actually worsen some health conditions seniors often face
- “Empty nest syndrome” — when the kids all move out
- Traumatic events — death or major illness of spouse, family, or friends
- Boredom/lack of social activity
Warning Signs of Alcoholism in Seniors
You will likely be among the first to notice your loved one drinking more than they should be because you know them best.
You shouldn’t overlook any possible signs of alcohol abuse, because chronic alcohol abuse can lead to poor physical and mental health.
Here are some warning signs your loved one is struggling with alcohol:
- Agitation or irritability when sober
- Hiding or stashing liquor bottles in hidden locations
- Drinking to cope with loss or depression
- Drinking alone/in secret
- Isolating or distancing themselves from family (except for social distancing reasons)
- Slurring speech, smelling of alcohol, or exhibiting other signs of drunkenness
Remember: even if the drinking problem seems minor, you should not ignore it. Alcoholism is extremely difficult to deal with alone — people often overestimate their ability to drink, and denial is quite common among people who struggle with drinking problems.
It may be a tough conversation to have, but it is worth it.
One of the best ways to deter alcohol abuse in seniors is to have a caring professional there to help your loved one. Prestige Home Care’s trained agents can be caring social companions for your loved one, offering companionship and socialization. Contact us today to learn more.