Posts tagged with ‘elderly’
The elderly are very susceptible to becoming dependent on prescription drugs because they are usually given many prescriptions for narcotic painkillers and they are often alone or left unattended and can take more than the suggested dose.
Addiction is generally considered to be a problem that impacts younger people more than any other population demographic. We may be aware that it’s an “equal opportunity” issue, impacting the young, old, rich and poor alike, but when asked to picture an addict we inherently jump to the youthful heroin abuser before we think of the older woman downing a bottle of wine. However, substance abuse among seniors is on the rise, and the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence considers addiction among those 60 and over to be one of the fastest-growing health problems in the country. The main substances of concern are alcohol and prescription medicines, but the core problem actually lies in how society treats the issue.
As Baby Boomers become senior citizens and health care advances extend the quality and quantity of life, Americans are living longer lives. This generation brings with it those who have healthy lifestyles along with those who suffer from substance abuse. With such a large percentage of Americans losing some regular mobility and possibly memory with age, comes a greater chance that those who already suffer from alcohol abuse will suffer even greater impairment as senior citizens, according to a new study from Baylor University. Full Story
Binge drinking is usually associated with college parties and young single men. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides evidence that binge drinking is also a common occurrence among older adults. Full Story
A recent study reported that elders are more at risk for alcohol abuse than those from a younger generation. In this study of Australians, older and younger generations were reported to binge drink for very different reasons and at different rates, and the former group has to consider complications with alcohol intake that the younger set does not. Full Story
Baby boomers and women of all ages are drinking more alcohol, according to a major study from Columbia University. Full Story
When it comes to our parents or older adults in our family, we often have blinders on. On the one hand, we tend to think of our parents as having their act together. After all, they raised us and have years of accumulated wisdom. But we may also be preoccupied with our own lives and unable to recognize signs of drug or alcohol abuse that may be going on with them. Full Story
According to a recent article in the NY Times, Congressional investigators explain that thousands of Medicare recipients are abusing prescription drugs by shopping around for new doctors while obtaining prescriptions from each of them, resulting in dangerously large amounts of painkillers. Full Story
The baby boom generation, those born in the tidal wave of U.S. childbirths which occurred between 1944-1964, is beginning to enter the golden years. Older boomers are hitting retirement age with large numbers following just behind them. Some predict that the baby boom generation could soon present health and mental health care providers with needs that stress the system. Rather than aging with the accrued wisdom of years to benefit the Gen Xers, addiction specialists worry that the boomers may rebel against aging by engaging in addictive behaviors. Full Story
An American educator named John W. Gardner once commented that there is no other health problem that has been as neglected nationally as alcoholism. Doctors decline alcoholics as patients, hospitals won’t admit them and available treatment methods haven’t been widely useful.
Recently, we see that many elderly have become hidden alcoholics due to loneliness and depression. They have gone from leading productive lives to no longer having family or friends around to support them as they are left alone at home or in nursing homes, according to a recent article in Frost Illustrated.
Most of the elderly are on a variety of medications that do not mix safely with alcohol. When these patients are then hospitalized, often no one knows they are alcoholics which can lead to withdrawal signs complicating treatment.
A simple bout of pneumonia can become complicated with an unknown alcoholic as it lowers the immune system. Alcoholism also causes mineral and vitamin deficiencies that can lead to chronic brain diseases or deficits of the neurological system.
If an alcoholic is admitted, they need to be treated for such deficiencies and given supplements like B1, or thiamine and magnesium in conjunction with other nutrients they are lacking. This becomes complicated when the doctors don’t know the elderly person is an alcoholic. Social Service agencies need to be more aware of the conditions that lead to alcoholism with the elderly, and these elderly individuals also need to be encouraged to become involved in recreational activities for peer interaction.
It is important to make sure you have a neighbor or friend who regularly checks on your elderly family member and also has a key. Check with the nursing home or senior center to get your elderly loved one plugged in to recreational activities to help avoid this growing problem.
Studies of alcohol use and cognition among the elderly are rare and have mixed results, but a study of drinking among the elderly in Brazil has found that heavy alcohol use is associated with more memory and cognitive problems than mild-to-moderate alcohol use, especially among women. Results will be published in the April 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.