Mental health and rehab communities often discuss addiction among young adults, but addiction impacts people of all ages. Retirees drink for the same reasons other people do, including pain, depression, poverty and loneliness. However, a drinking problem during the retirement years can complicate existing medical conditions and speed up the aging process.
Retirement Can Increase Drinking
People who are retired may feel like they finally have time to do all the things they want to do. However, they may start to miss workplace friendships, business decisions and the sense of accomplishment that work can bring. Over time, a feeling of worthlessness may start to set in. Retirees may face physical changes, relationship changes and financial changes. This process of loss brings about grief, which may worsen as retirees begin to lose loved ones and experience other challenges of aging. Often, drinking increases as individuals experience depression, anxiety and fear of the future.
Barriers to Alcoholism Help
There are many barriers to treatment that retirees face. Denial can hinder anyone with an addiction issue. People usually go through three stages of change before taking action and seeking addiction help: pre-contemplation, contemplation and preparation. When retirees seek addiction help, doctors often don’t inquire about the root causes of their problems. Instead, doctors and traditional rehab companies treat the symptoms rather than the source of the problem. Doctors frequently just say, “You are getting old.” With younger patients, doctors are more likely to encourage counseling.
Retirees are also frequently embarrassed to ask for help or impose on others. Perhaps they don’t have money or insurance to seek help. Even seniors who live with their families may have difficulty asking for help or sharing an addiction issue with loved ones. Sometimes retirees are afraid that they are a burden or feel bad about asking for the help that they need. Their problem is also frequently hidden because they are usually drinking at home instead of at a bar and they are not missing work, which allows their issue to go unnoticed.
Baby Boomers and Addiction
Because youth have been the focus of substance abuse treatment in the past, the issue of addiction among senior citizens is only now gaining attention. In the 65 and over age group, alcohol can lead to increasing health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes, and can make existing problems worse. Alcoholism can cause strokes and dementia at a much earlier age than expected. People who are older are also at a higher risk of falls and broken bones when drinking.
Rehab for Retirees
Finding alcohol addiction resources for seniors can be very difficult. There is Medicare coverage for addiction, but it often does not go far enough. However, there is help available.
We can help you find a rehab program to fit your unique needs. Rehab treatment centers with programs for seniors can give you or someone you love a greater sense of community and the help necessary to overcome addiction.
There are treatment centers for older adults that are proven to be effective. The good news is that older adults tend to be ready to make a real life change and are more likely to follow through with treatment.
If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, do not hesitate to get help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to find the resources that fit your needs.