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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

10 Ways to Help a Senior with a Drinking Problem


According to The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, there are currently 2.5 million seniors with an alcohol or drug problem, which includes 50% of all nursing home residents. What makes these statistics additionally scary is that an aging body is already under a higher threat for illnesses or mobility-related accidents. Alcohol only aggravates these dangers.

In times like these, it’s difficult to know what to do because you can’t force someone to stop drinking. However, this does not mean that you have to sit there and do nothing either. Start by reading over the following 10 suggestions to help a senior with a drinking habit and see if any of them can apply to your circumstances.

1. Plan Your Wording Carefully
Before you let your emotions boil over and you verbally attack your loved one, take some time to build a case about what it is you want to say. Approach this exercise with love and support, focusing on your observations without any blame. Speak calmly and use words which let them know that you are on their side while granting them the chance to speak too. The most important thing here is that they do not feel threatened.

2. Get More People Involved
If there are other concerned family members, then why not give them a call? It will be much easier than facing this alone, and together, your unified love will be even stronger as you collaborate on the smartest strategy. If you know someone who has already quit drinking, you could ask them for advice too.

3. Choose Your Timing Well
It’s in everyone’s best interest that you do not approach this conversation when any party has been drinking. Said intoxication may heighten aggressive emotions and they might not entirely comprehend your intentions. Rather catch them during the day’s early hours in a private place to better secure their full attention.

4. Encourage Exciting Activities
New hobbies can break old habits, hence why a few healthy suggestions may inspire them to turn their lives around. Look into yoga or meditation classes for seniors, or even accompany them on nature walks. Consider purchasing some mobility equipment for those dealing with injuries or age-related ailments, as this will help to bypass certain drinking excuses. These activities should also stabilize their chemicals during sobriety while tiring the stress out.

5. Suggest a Support Group
Venturing into a new lifestyle can be daunting, which is what makes support groups so valuable. Here, one can realize how many people are on the same team and they may feel less alone. Offer to go with them for the first few sessions to ease the initial steps. If they refuse, there are still similar groups for people dealing with alcoholic family members just like yours, and they may have the exact advice you need.

6. Suggest Social Gatherings
Sometimes the loneliness of an individual is what drives them into further realms of antisocial behavior, hence why you may need to address this problem first. Research local get-togethers and see if they’d like to be involved. Ideas include senior events, dance classes, or bake sales for charity. It’s also important that you visit them often too.

7. Visit Their Doctor
If you are concerned about your loved one’s health, then attend their next doctor's appointment. There’s a good chance that they’ve been understating their drinking habits, and this gives you an opening to step up with the facts. Ask for advice and query about medication conflicts as well as any underlying health concerns.

8. Build a Program
Once you have everybody on board, you need to find a safe way to embark on this journey. Abruptly quitting alcohol is extremely dangerous and can even prove fatal. Speak to a specialist (either a doctor or an addiction counselor) and discuss the healthiest options for this situation. And most importantly, you must be completely dedicated to this process right until the very end, even in the event of a relapse.

9. Reduce the Triggers

Especially during the early stages, it is imperative to minimize those people, places, and things which provoke temptation. Pay close attention and alter these high-risk influences, whether it be negative friends, certain hours of the day, or even just the removal of all alcohol from their house.

10. Lead by Example

It goes without saying, but it wouldn't be very fair to have a drink in front of a struggling loved one. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking yourself, although if you did, you could give them that extra boost of encouragement. Perhaps you’ll even realize that this undertaking requires much more strength than you initially thought.

This is a guest blog entry.

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