Helping an Elderly Loved One Overcome Drug or Alcohol Addiction: 5 Tips

Drug or alcohol addiction is a serious problem with devastating consequences. It’s even more complicated when it’s an elderly loved one. Senior citizens are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs due to retirement, the loss of a spouse, social isolation, or chronic health problems. They’re prone to more health problems, which is a recipe for disaster. How do you help them overcome the addiction?

Seek Professional Help

Detoxing someone at home is complicated, especially for an older adult. Seek professional help. They will assess the situation and create a customized plan. It may include inpatient or outpatient treatment, medication, and counseling. 

Work with Behavioral Health Centers to deal with other underlying issues such as mental health disorders, chronic pain, or grief. Because of the sensitive nature of addiction, find a facility specializing in treating the elderly. They have the experience and compassion to help your loved one through this tough time.

Educate Yourself

Before helping someone else, educate yourself. Learn about addiction and how it affects the brain. Doing this helps you better understand what your loved one is going through. It’s also important to understand the different treatment options available. This way, you’ll make informed decisions on what’s best for your loved one. 

Take time to understand the unique challenges the elderly face with addiction. It will help you provide the best possible support for your loved one. Additionally, connect with support groups for families of addicts. They’re a great source of information and support.

Create a Supportive Environment

One of the most important things you can do is create a supportive environment. It means being there for your loved one, both emotionally and practically. Show them that you love and support them, no matter what. 

Be patient, understanding, and non-judgmental. Avoid lectures or ultimatums. Instead, have frank and open discussions about the addiction and its impact on their life. It’s also important to provide practical support, including help with financial issues, childcare, or transportation. If your loved one is in treatment, ensure they have what they need to succeed. Offer to attend appointments with them or help find ideal treatment centers. 

Encourage Healthy Habits

You can’t force someone to overcome addiction. However, you can encourage healthy habits. It means helping them develop a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep. Encourage them to avoid triggers, such as places or people associated with drug use. 

Help them find new and healthy activities to replace drug use. Find ideal hobbies, social activities, or volunteering. The goal is to help them discover joy in sobriety. Spend quality time together exploring different activities that take their mind off addiction.

Be Prepared for Setbacks

Recovery from addiction is a long and complex process. There will be setbacks along the way, such as relapses. Be prepared for these setbacks. Have a plan to deal with them, including additional treatment, support, or home environment changes.

Health concerns such as chronic pain, mental health disorders, and physical decline can lead to increased vulnerability to relapse. Address these issues as part of the treatment plan. If your loved one does relapse, don’t give up on them. Show them that you still love and support them. Help them get back on track with the treatment plan.

Take Care of Yourself

As you take care of your loved one’s needs, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Find a balance between caring for your loved one and yourself. Set boundaries, take time for yourself, and seek support from family and friends. Most importantly, join a support group for caregivers of addicts. This will help you cope with the stress of caring for a loved one with an addiction.