More than 2.5 million elderly adults suffer from a drug (or alcohol) problem in the United States. This statistic is staggering and shocking across the board, as we likely have a health crisis on our hands with elderly individuals abusing prescription and recreational drugs unlike ever before. This is an ongoing problem that many people may not be aware is happening, as most people assume drug addiction and abuse happens in teens and younger adults.
A common misconception of drug abuse is that all people who are misusing drugs are likely in the ‘partying’ phase of their life or using drugs to enhance those experiences in their life. People often think that drug addiction is exclusive to young adults abusing street grade drugs to have a good time or to escape reality. What people seem to forget is that there is a whole generation and group of people that are more vulnerable to becoming addicted to drugs and their addiction is likely started by perfectly legal prescriptions that are given to them by medical professionals. Of course, we are talking about seniors, who are over the age of 50.
As our bodies get older, they may become more susceptible to diseases, illnesses and sickness that may require prescription drugs to treat. These drugs can range from blood pressure medicine to pain killers to anti-nausea medication; the options are endless for those who may be suffering from life altering ailments due to their older age. An unfortunate fact is that addiction in the elderly population is incredibly common and it likely stems from the miscommunication between doctors, the elderly patient of the doctor and the patient’s family or support system. Mismanagement of medications can also contribute to the growing addiction problem, as seniors may mix medications they shouldn’t and eventually become dependent on the mixture of medicine that they have concocted in their bodies.
Additionally, it is important to remember that this is a very fragile time in their lives, as seniors are more than likely facing changes in their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life daily. As we become older, it is natural to face more challenges and changes that leave us feeling lost, scared or anxious. Seniors may be the most susceptible to this, as they may have recently experienced an increased level of changes through out their life. Such changes and deviations from their norm include:
These life altering events could be triggers for individuals to start feeling depressed, sad, anxious or lost. This could trigger their substance abuse, as they turn towards the medication that they have, or illicit drugs that they find elsewhere, to cope with the pain of change and the idea of life shifting from what they once knew to a new norm.
If an elderly individual does not have a support system around them that will help them keep track of their medications, he or she is left prone to abusing their medications, as they may be unable to keep track of their medication schedule and maintaining a healthy balance between medications. Hiring a professional caregiving to specialize in medication management and reminders ensures that an elderly individual has the proper attention that he or she needs in order to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle, while a caregiver oversees the medication that they are taking on a daily or weekly basis. Although a caregiver through a non-medical home care company cannot physically give their clients the medications that he or she is prescribed, some of the services that a caregiver can provide in regard to medication management includes:
When a senior abuses drugs (or uses alcohol with prescription medication) he or she may start to present symptoms that their family unit simply cannot ignore. Although some of these symptoms may be chalked up to old age or a direct result of their health problems, it should be taken very seriously if these signs and symptoms are ever present in elderly individuals. Symptoms of substance abuse can be hidden very well or for a long period of time, especially in seniors that may not see their friends or family very often. Signs and symptoms of drug abuse in seniors includes:
If these signs and symptoms are present in an elderly individual, it is advised that a medical professional is contacted right away, as there are serious side effects of substance abuse for seniors. Since their health is not as sharp as it once was, seniors are unable to process a high volume of prescription drugs as they once could. They could experience rapid deterioration of their organs and could lead to heart attack, stroke or even death. Senior citizens are more prone to experiencing fatal side effects from substance abuse issues than any other age group due to their already declining health. It is imperative that any sign of substance abuse is brought to the attention of their medical professionals so that they can receive the treatment and help he or she needs.
Substance abuse can cause mental, emotional and physical problems for elderly individuals. Misuse and mishandling of medications can bring serious and irreparable damage to a senior’s body, mind and soul. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, please seek help immediately by bringing this up to a medical professional. You do not have to fight this alone.
24 Hour Home Care review summary
The success of our clients and company is entirely dependent on the quality of our caregivers. We make certain to find and provide our senior clients with the industry's best caretakers so that they have a positive in-home care experience. We submit all of our caregivers through nationwide background checks, assessment tests, and verify multiple references. All of our caregivers are required to be compassionate, reliable, experienced, and above all else, TRUSTWORTHY. We understand that you are entrusting your loved one's home and well-being with our company, and we take that very seriously.
24 Hour Home Care® is committed to improving the lives of our senior clients. By assisting seniors with their daily living activities, we are able to keep them at home where they are comfortable and allow them to thrive during this chapter of their lives. Not only do we strive to exceed customer satisfaction, but we strive to exceed employee satisfaction. We want all of our caregivers to be proud and happy to work for 24 Hour Home Care® so that they will provide the best senior home care possible!LEARN MORE ABOUT TRUSTED CAREGIVERS
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