Elderly Alcoholism. Seniors Assisted Living with Special Care for Alcoholics
Posted April 18, 2017

It’s important to realize how assisted living provides special care for seniors with alcohol abuse issues. Senior Living Experts can help you find the right living facilities to address senior alcohol abuse.

Understanding Seniors with Alcohol Abuse Issues

In addition to the typical tasks of a senior social worker, they may be a resource for helping seniors with alcohol abuse issues. Alcohol abuse may be more prominent than you think in the elderly.

  • Heavy DrinkingOne study suggests that approximately 13% of men and 2% of senior women were classified as “heavy drinkers.” The term refers to those who drink more than 2 glasses of alcohol a day.
  • Moderate Drinking – The NIAA(C*C)considers 1 drink per day for those 65+ as the maximum amount of intake to be considered a ‘moderate’ drinker. One drink is equal to 5 oz. of wine, 12 oz. of beer or 1.5oz. distilled spirits.
  • Statistics – According to the NCAAD 5 million senior adults are dealing with drug and/or alcohol abuse. Almost half of residents in nursing homes have alcohol related issues. Subsequently, seniors are hospitalized as often for alcohol problems as they are for heart related issues.
  • Most Commonly Affected – Typically senior men who have lost their wives are the most likely to turn to alcohol. The highest rate of alcoholism runs in widowers aged 75 and older.

Alcohol abuse is most prominent in those who drank heavily in their younger days. However, changes in life can often affect seniors and cause them to turn to alcohol for relief.

Common Reasons for Seniors to Turn to Alcohol

  • Loneliness (friends, family, spouse have passed)
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Boredom/No Longer Working
  • Stress
  • Children Becoming Adults (spending less time with the parent)
  • Physical Challenges/Changes
  • Changes in the home (moving out of a home that no longer fits their needs)

In addition to lifestyle changes, we find that our body changes affect our mindset. If there is increased alcohol use, choosing the right assisted living facility can make a big difference.

How Assisted Living Provides Special Care for Seniors with Alcohol Abuse Issues

Finding a facility that addresses the triggers for seniors with alcohol abuse issues is an excellent way to combat the problem. In addition to providing positive surroundings, assisted living can result in a non-combative way to address the drinking.

  1. Social Life – Your loved one will be surrounded by other seniors with similar interests. Social programs, specially planned trips, and ease of mobility/transportation will all be helpful to keeping seniors busy. Social programs will usually include holiday events, gatherings, & even meals. In other words, your loved one will be surrounded by people their age and entertained.
  2. AA Meetings – Some facilities will have AA meetings held in the facility for those who have recognized they have a problem with drinking. Alternatively, they may also provide transportation to and from locally held meetings.
  3. Exercise – On site therapy and supervised gyms are one way that assisted living promotes being more active. Additional programs such as walks on the grounds or trips to local sites encourage being active. This creates less time to be bored & more time to feel better with increased activity.
  4. On Site PT/OT – It seems that physical therapy and/or occupational therapy provided right on site would help combat aches and pains. It also increases the likelihood of staying on program and focused on feeling healthier.
  5. Luxury Amenities – There are some assisted living facilities that offer luxury amenities such as on site spa, massage therapy, barber shop/hair salon and more. Having these amenities available can be an important part to lifting the spirits of the residents. Additionally, it simply makes one feel better after spending time being pampered.

In Conclusion

Let our team help you find the assisted living facility that can change how you feel. Sometimes moving into a new atmosphere and embracing positive changes can be enough to change your approach to life. Assisted living provides special care for seniors with alcohol abuse issues without a confrontational approach.

(C*C) O’Connor PG, Schottenfeld RS. Patients with alcohol problems. N Engl J Med. 1998;338:592–602.
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