Seniors respond successfully to generational and age-specific rehab among their peers. While two-thirds of older patients have experienced early onset alcoholism, one third of older adult addicts suffer from late-onset addiction, which usually occurs after the age of 50. Major life changes, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, retirement or grief can send a person spiraling into destructive behaviors and substance abuse.
Myths about older adult addiction persist, such as the notion that substance abuse “doesn’t make any difference at that age.” This is called ageism, and these myths must be dispelled for the well-being of the older adult, as well as that of the person’s entire family.
Medical detoxification and stability followed by treatment services, continuing care and recovery care services are the best and most effective steps in substance abuse rehab for seniors. During treatment, seniors will begin to regain health, cognition and mobility, and will start to rebuild relationships with their families. 12–Step integration practice provides an additional way to give and receive support.
Elements of Older Adult Recovery
Age-specific substance abuse rehab should address the shared values and experiences of a generation. An effective rehab for seniors should provide generation-sensitive and compassionate care.
Older adult recovery is a slower process, because of the natural aging process and concurrent medical, mental and emotional conditions. When an individual suffers from substance abuse, so does the person’s family. Family members may suffer similar physical and emotional symptoms to those of the addict and can benefit from education and support.