It seems to me that there is a lot of talk about issues related to the elderly in the media today. Topics range from finances to health and how to remain active. Whatever the subject, an underlying premise of each of the articles seems to be about how the population is aging and how as a society we must be prepared. I wholeheartedly agree. However….
I don’t seem to read much about how society is prepared or needs to prepare to deal with the elderly and alcoholism. Although I could not find any current statistics, I would bet that alcoholism among the elderly is higher now as a percentage and also as an absolute number because of the growing segment of the population. Many of the costs of health care for the elderly are related to falls and the subsequent broken bones and treatment. I would also suspect that the elderly are less likely to respond positively to traditional counseling. And, should more promising medications be found which offer hope, how are they going to interact with all the medications that a typical elderly American takes.
We need to find better ways to help the elderly that suffer from this disease.
If anyone knows more about this, I would be interested to learn more
Here are a few links I found:
Article from an alcoholism research organization in the UK
Article on Older Women from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
The aging, like children, often do not have complete control of their lives. Unlike children, they know what it is like to have control of their lives – thus taking alcohol away from them is a huge conflict. And yes, they probably respond less well to counseling – just want to be left alone in peace with their bottle. What a dilemma!