Addiction recovery can be a long process, and those recovering from addiction often rely on their family’s and friends’ support. Our elder population can be especially vulnerable to addiction and substance abuse for many reasons:
- Older adults tend to have more prescription drugs to take, increasing possibility of abuse.
- Addiction behaviors can be difficult to distinguish amongst a patient’s complex medical situation.
- Substance usage may be masking depression and anxiety.
- Older adults experience more social isolation, making diagnosis difficult.
Here are some ways you can support your loved one’s recovery.
Let Them Know You Want to Help
Emotional support from family and friends is a big part of recovery. Your loved one may directly ask for your support, or they might be afraid to bring it up. Let them know that you are here for them on their journey. Discuss what kind of support they need and what you can provide.
Learn More About Addiction
Seek out additional resources and learn more about addiction recovery. Understanding addiction can help you respond to your loved one’s challenges on their path towards recovery. Learn how to recognize the signs of a relapse, and become familiar with your loved one’s recovery plan.
Encourage Them to Remain in Treatment
Addiction treatment can provide your loved one with the direct support and resources they need to recover, and can be especially successful when surrounded by their peers. Encourage them to continue their recovery plan. Visit them during inpatient treatment, and participate in group counseling sessions when available to show your support.
Minimize Temptation And Triggers
Removing access to substances will help your loved one focus their energy on recovering. Reduce the risk of a relapse by removing substances from their home, and avoid situations which may be triggering. Come up with new ways to spend social time that don’t involve drinking.
Focus on Them as a Person
Addiction can be overwhelming, especially in the early stages of recovery. Remember to focus on who they are as a person—not how their addiction makes them behave. During recovery, encourage them to reconnect with hobbies and talents that they enjoy. Their illness is only one part of who they are; it does not define them as a person.
Take Care of Yourself, Too
As the saying goes: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Avoid caregiver burnout by taking care of your own needs as well. Consider seeking additional support, such as home health care, and remember to take breaks from caregiving responsibilities when possible. Practice your healthy habits for yourself, so you can fully support your loved one.
At Sana Behavioral Hospital, we understand the unique needs of older adults experiencing mental health and substance use concerns, and we provide patient-centered care. Visit our website or call 928-227-3424 to learn more about our treatment and services.