While we don’t often think of the elderly suffering from substance abuse problems, addiction is a growing epidemic among older adults. Whether from prescription medications, illegal narcotics or alcohol abuse, there are more elderly people struggling with addiction every day. Unfortunately, successful treatment can be even more challenging for this age group, so unique programs must be developed.
The Face of Elderly Substance Addiction
According to reports from the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050, they estimate the number of people aged 65 or older will rise to 83.7 million people. Of those, researchers estimate that over 6 million will abuse alcohol by 2020 and the number that abuse drugs will more than double from 2013 to 2020. While some may be quick to blame prescription misuse for those skyrocketing numbers, there may be other contributory causes of elderly addiction.
Those people born in the Baby Boom generation spent their teens and young adult years experimenting with drugs and alcohol use throughout the 60s and 70s. Now, those people are reaching their retirement years and many may have never had to previously confront their addictions. As they become more reliant on health insurance and limited retirement incomes, they may be experiencing more problems in obtaining their substance of choice. Additionally, addiction becomes more easily recognized, as the elderly enter assisted living facilities. [Read more…]