It is a fallacy that older people who are retired cannot abuse substances. As individuals grow older, they have to be more diligent about taking care of their physical and mental health, as they tend to become ill more frequently. They might have trouble with physical tasks that are more demanding and become fatigued easier, which can lead to them feeling worn down mentally, increase stress and lead to possible anxiety and depression.
So how can older people actively avoid substance abuse when they are retired?
Seeking Immediate Treatment for Addiction
Older adults can develop addiction due to ongoing stress and depression, and it is much more common that most people realize. However, help is out there. Medicare benefits may cover the cost of rehabilitation for addiction treatment for seniors.
How can seniors know they are addicted? If they are taking more than their prescribed doses of medications, and are drinking more than one or two drinks daily, or mixing their prescription medications with alcohol and having trouble sleeping, suffering from memory loss or other effects, they might want to consider treatment for addiction. An early intervention for substance abuse is more successful than waiting to get treatment, therefore seniors should seek immediate help as soon as they suspect they have a problem.
Staying Socially Engaged
Social isolation is one of the main contributors to older adults developing depression. Seniors can become isolated when they have mobility challenges and find it increasingly difficult to leave home or navigate the outdoors. The gap can be bridged a little by using technology and staying socially connected online. But, seniors should also make an effort to remain engaged within their community and regular interactions with friends and family. Volunteering locally and joining groups with other like minded seniors will also help.
Learning Something New
It’s never too late to learn something new. Lifelong learning is one of the most effective ways to reduce cognitive decline and keep the mind sharp. Plus, it will give the older individual a sense of achievement and confidence, which can in turn improve their health and general well being. Seniors would do well to remember that mental health is as important as physical health.
Getting a Service Dog
For seniors suffering from depression or any other mental health conditions, getting a service dog can provide comfort and companionship, as well as give them a sense of purpose. There are many benefits of getting a service dog. In fact, many service dogs have even been credited with saving their owners’ lives. Even if the senior is not suffering from any mental health related conditions, adopting a canine friend can drastically improve mental health. Not to mention all the emotional benefits of having a dog as a companion and friend.
At The Villa, we work with our clients to create a treatment plan that works for them. Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call us to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.