Five Drug And Alcohol Prevention Tips For Seniors

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Drug and alcohol prevention is a very important topic no matter your age. Many people think that drug and alcohol abuse only affects teens and young adults. However, the number of elderly people using drugs and alcohol is on the rise. In fact, it is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of older adults have a problem with drugs or alcohol. The good news is that there are a number of things that can be done to prevent substance abuse problems in the elderly.

Drug and Alcohol Prevention for Seniors

Educate Seniors About The Dangers Of Using Drugs And Alcohol

Some people do not understand all of the dangers that are associated with using drugs and alcohol. Many seniors, even if they understand the dangers, may feel immune to the risks. However, the dangers can be very serious, especially if a senior is taking medication for a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease. That’s why it can be very important to educate seniors about the negative effects of using drugs and alcohol. Educators, health care providers, and substance abuse counselors can play a very important role in drug and alcohol abuse prevention.

Recognize Signs Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse

When a person begins abusing drugs and alcohol, there are usually external signs of this behavior, the key is to recognize them. Some of those signs include changes in eating and sleeping habits, increased falling or lack of balance and coordination, aggressive behavior, and agitation. Drug and alcohol prevention isn’t just for illegal substances; prescription drug abuse is also very common among the elderly. A person who is abusing prescription drugs may change doctors frequently. He or she may also fill prescriptions at multiple pharmacies to avoid being detected.

Encourage Seniors To Get Involved In Positive Activities

Many seniors are lonely or feel isolated, especially as they begin to lose loved ones and friends.  Loneliness and isolation can make a person more susceptible to abusing drugs. Encourage seniors to get involved in activities where they can meet other people and enjoy activities in the community.

Encourage Counseling

Counseling can also help people deal with loneliness and the difficulties people face as they age and can be a key to drug and alcohol abuse prevention. There are several types of counseling, including individual, family and group. Seniors may find that counselling helps them identify the unfamiliar feelings that are driving them to use drugs and alcohol. Drug and alcohol prevention helps a person understand why they are feeling this way and what methods they can use to cope. By offering alternatives to drugs and alcohol, counseling can help a senior citizen deal with these life changes in a positive way.

Encourage Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Seniors who live a healthy lifestyle are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, so a healthy lifestyle is a great way to foster drug and alcohol abuse prevention. Making healthy choices can also help a person live a longer life. Seniors should get plenty of exercise in every day. Walking, swimming and cycling are examples of low-impact exercises that are great for seniors. They should also make sure that they get plenty of sleep and follow a healthy diet.

The importance of drug and alcohol prevention cannot be reiterated enough. Educating seniors about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, recognizing the signs of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as encouraging counseling, positive activities and lifestyle habits can help prevent substance abuse.