Elderly Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse is the most common form of substance abuse in the elderly. Furthermore, it is on the rise among this age group. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, new data was gleaned from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study reported that about 20% of those between the ages of 60-64 and about 11% of those older than 65 indulge in binge drinking. Women seem to be especially at risk. Additionally, women seem to be outpacing men in their abuse of anti-anxiety, sleeping pills and opiate painkillers.
As was reported by Dr. Richard A. Friedman’s article in the New York Times in 2013, “A Rising Tide of Substance Abuse,” there is still cause for concern 10 years later. The alarm bell among baby boomers moving into their senior years still needs ringing. Baby Boomers have already experimented with alcohol and drugs and do not stigmatize their use as much as previous generations. The estimated projections of 14-20% of the elderly population suffering from substance abuse or mental disorders or both seems to have borne out.
Why Is This Happening?
Many may not have had a problem with alcoholism or substance abuse in the past. However, they may turn to it in later years as a way to cope with the loss, loneliness, and isolation that often accompanies old age. The elderly suffer a series of losses with no hope of return to the way things were. Family and friends pass on. The world they grew up with and knew in their robust years slips away. Their depression mounts and they look for ways for relief. The isolation brought on by the Covid-10 lockdowns seems to have spurred alcohol use among many age groups as well. The loneliness and desperation led people to seek old familiar ways to deal with the psychological pain.
Additionally, they suffer so much physical loss. Reduced function can invade all parts of their existence from reduced stamina and energy to reduced dexterity and mobility to dealing with serious illnesses and debilitating treatments. As such, they may become addicted to substances to ease their physical pain. For those prone to searching for outside relief, the primary choice for this is alcohol.
According to the AARP, heavy alcohol use in the elderly can lead to an increased risk of dementia as well as cancer. Furthermore, an elderly fall in a drunken state is all but certain. Much has been written and researched as to how an elderly fall can set off a cascade of catastrophic events. The decreased sense of balance and dizziness from any drug interactions added to alcohol use are elements for a perfect storm.
A complicating factor in this whole scenario is that the elderly have a reduced ability to metabolize the alcohol they consume. As such, the alcohol stays in their bloodstream for a lot longer than it did when they were younger.
Aside from the fall risk already mentioned, this leads to increased risk for:
- alcohol poisoning
- impaired vision
- slowed reaction time
David York Agency Home Healthcare Can Help Seniors in the Bronx
At David York Agency, we understand the many challenges and risks faced by the aging and elderly. We are dedicated to providing care to support them through all of those ups and down. At David York Home Healthcare Agency, extraordinary service is what sets us apart from other companies in the Bronx that provide in home healthcare services.
DYA we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. Whatever your care needs, we are there for you, always striving to exceed your expectations. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (718) 376-7755. A free phone consultation can help you determine what services would meet your needs. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.