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Recognizing Signs of Substance Abuse in Seniors

Substance abuse in elderly adults is increasing, so family caregivers need to be on the lookout for the symptoms of this serious issue taking place with their own aging relatives. Whether it’s prescription drug abuse, alcohol abuse or illegal drugs, many seniors fall into the trap of substance abuse to deal with unpleasant emotions and raw feelings.


Home Health Care in Rockridge CA: Substance Abuse in Seniors

Home Health Care in Rockridge CA: Substance Abuse in Seniors


Not only is substance abuse a poor way to deal with mental health issues, but the overuse of drugs and alcohol can also cause serious health issues, especially to seniors. Family caregivers must always be on the lookout for substance abuse issues and coordinate with others that look after the aging adult, such as elderly care providers, to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the aging adult’s health and wellness.


What are the Symptoms of Substance Abuse in Seniors?

It can be extremely hard to detect symptoms of substance abuse in the elderly because so many of the signs mimic other age-related health issues. Among the most common symptoms of substance abuse are a change in eating habits, muscle tremors, mood swings, poor judgment, forgetfulness, clumsiness, memory loss, and slurred speech. Because so many of these signs mimic other conditions, it can be difficult to identify substance abuse on these alone.

Other behaviors can clue family caregivers and home care providers in on whether the aging adult is having problems. They may have prescriptions for the same drugs from different doctors or pharmacies, they often take medicine differently than how was prescribed, they run out of pills before the prescription is due for a refill and get defensive when asked questions about medication. With alcohol, seniors may have similar behavior, making excuses for consumption, getting defensive about inquiries and finding ways to get their hands on more.


Treating Substance Abuse in Seniors

If family caregivers have seen enough evidence and have gotten feedback from friends, family members and home care providers on the aging adult’s behavior concerning drugs and alcohol, they need to take the next difficult step of getting their elderly loved one to a doctor. Not only will the doctor work with the senior on proper medications and dealing with addiction or withdrawal challenges, but they will also recommend a therapist. The mental health professional can help the aging adult deal with the issues that made them turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place.

It’s never easy to see an elderly loved one succumb to substance abuse and the journey back to freedom can be long and difficult. However, with a supportive team that includes a loving family caregiver, elderly adults can break away from the chains of abuse and addiction and enjoy their lives without the damaging effects.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Health Care in Rockridge, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203

Evan Loevner, CEO

As a former hospital administrator, I launched Aviva with the goal of having a more focused, direct impact on the delivery of care than I could ever accomplish within a hospital setting. For me, the joy of running an organization like Aviva In-Home Care is having the ability to positively improve the lives of individuals needing customized care. As a passionate Bay Area resident, I know that many local seniors can benefit from new approaches to in-home care, that will bring them more connection to the community, and provide families with a greater sense of comfort that their loved one is indeed matched with an ideal caregiver. This starts by including the family throughout the care planning process, a key component of the concept of “family-centered care,” which has been adopted by top medical centers. A strong communication loop between family, the caregiver, Aviva management, and community healthcare practitioners is essential for ensuring that all the needs of the client are met. While this may not sound like a novel concept, it is not commonly practiced within the home care community.

At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.

As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.