This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, Cypress Homecare Solutions encourages you educate yourself and loved ones on the dangers of alcohol addiction.
In 2015, Arizona ranked number 21 in states with the most alcohol-related fatalities. That year alone saw 272 DUI fatalities. We ranked number 11 in DUI arrests—22, 367.
More than 15 million Americans struggle with alcoholism; less than 8% receive treatment. Alcohol poisoning kills six people every day. 76% of those deaths are in adults aged 35-64.
Alcoholism and Seniors
Studies show that those above 65 are less likely to drink than younger people. But there are still 2.5 million older adults with an alcohol or drug problem—nearly 2/3 of the elderly. Widowers over 75 have the highest rate of alcoholism, and approximately 50% of nursing home residents have alcohol related problems.
Older adults are hospitalized for alcohol related problems as often as they are for heart attacks.
How Alcoholism Affects Seniors
When seniors abuse alcohol, they’re at risk for the following:
- Falls and fractures
- Immune system disorders
- Brain damage
- Organ damage (such as kidney or liver)
- Heart conditions (such as blood pressure or cholesterol)
Indicators of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol abuse in seniors often goes unrecognized. Here are indicators you or your loved one may be struggling.
- Solitary or secretive drinking.
- A ritual of drinking before, with, or after dinner.
- A loss of interest in hobbies or pleasurable activities.
- Drinking in spite of warning labels on prescription drugs.
- Immediate and frequent use of tranquilizers.
- Slurred speech, empty liquor and beer bottles, smell of alcohol on breath, change in personal appearance.
- Chronic and unsupported health complaints.
- Hostility or depression.
- Memory loss and confusion.
What You Can Do
If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:
- Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
- Keep track of how much you drink.
- Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
- Don’t drink when you are upset.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
- Avoid places where people drink a lot.
- Make a list of reasons not to drink.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, seek help now. Find support groups, therapists, or rehabilitation centers. It’s never too late to overcome addiction.