Alcohol and Senior Citizens

elderly couple in front of house uid 1187314People are living longer and are generally healthier. This means that seniors are making up a larger portion of our population. Although alcohol use typically declines with age, some seniors may be at risk for alcohol-related problems.

What Makes Alcohol an Issue for Seniors?

Alcohol has a greater effect on seniors because metabolism changes as we age. Older people are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, and a little will go a long way. Seniors generally take more medications than other adults. Mixing alcohol with either prescription or over-the-counter drugs is unwise and can be dangerous. The development of age-related health problems can cause anxiety and drinking may help some people feel more relaxed. At the same time, chronic conditions such as heart disease or decreased mobility can be aggravated by alcohol use.

Loss of a spouse, friends, home, or career often occurs in later years. Alcohol may be used to deal with these and other emotional stresses. Retirement brings long stretches of leisure time and may result in feelings of loneliness and depression. Alcohol may assume a role in helping pass the time.

Alcohol problems among older persons are often mistaken for physical, social or emotional conditions associated with aging. The abuse or misuse of alcohol may go undetected or may be treated inappropriately.

For some seniors, lack of day-to-day contact with fellow workers, families, and neighbors can make it difficult for others to detect an alcohol problem if one exists.

Older people who have lived through many life experiences often pride themselves on being able to handle their problems without the help of outsiders. They may be unwilling to admit to a drinking problem or uncomfortable seeking help.

In general, alcohol problems among older people can be divided into three categories. Some seniors have used alcohol excessively throughout most of their lives. Others drink at low levels but are inadvertently mixing alcohol with other drugs in ways that are harmful. And some people begin to use alcohol for the first time in their later years.

Throughout our lives it makes sense to spend our time wisely and enjoy the best health possible. Seniors can choose healthier alternatives to alcohol use – exercise, a second career, hobbies, or professional counseling to help deal with grief and loneliness.

Getting to know your doctor and pharmacist is also a good idea. These health professionals will have answers about alcohol and other drug use. Young or old, it is important to ask for help when needed. Information and treatment services are available in your area.

Al‑Anon Works

Building Healthy Relationship With One’s Self In Al-Anon

As a family recovery coach, my radar goes up when I hear clients talking about how much someone else’s drinking is bothering them. What the drinker’s actual diagnosis is or isn’t, is not important to me. If their drinking is bothering my client, I gently begin asking questions to help me better understand just how much of a problem it is to my client. Often, these conversations lead me to put Al‑Anon on my list of recommendations for the client.

You may wonder why I want my clients to go to Al‑Anon, when I’m specially trained to help the family members of alcoholics. The short answer to that question is that Al‑Anon works.

The people who have been going to Al‑Anon meetings for a very long time have discovered the secret of living well and enjoying their own lives whether their alcoholic relatives choose sobriety or not.

The clients I’ve sent to meetings progress faster toward the coaching goals they have set, become more able to deal with other aspects of their lives more effectively, and grow happier over time, regardless of their alcoholic’s choices.

I work hand in hand with the Al‑Anon program and its Twelve Steps because Al‑Anon facilitates the re‑emergence of inner health on the outer level. Al‑Anon is the program of relationships, beginning with building a healthy relationship with one’s self. And more than anything else, those related to alcoholics need support in rebuilding a healthy relationship with themselves because that’s where family recovery begins.

Beverly A. Buncher, MA, CEC, LTPC

Family Recovery Coach

Pompano Beach, Florida

Reason, Season, or a Lifetime

glassPeople come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

When you figure out which it is, you will know exactly what to do.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go..

Some people become friends and stay awhile…

leaving beautiful footprints on our hearts…

and we are never quite the same because we have made a good friend!!!

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person or people involved; and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships, and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

When you read this, just recite the following prayer.
That’s all you have to do. There is nothing else attached.
This is the power of prayer at work.

May today there be peace within you.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
dance, and to bask in the sun.
It is there for each and every one of you.

The Awesome Power of Prayer

Parents and children both affected by substance misuse

Children and teenagers recognised too as perpetrators

A new report has identified parents as sufferers of abuse and violence from substance misusing children. The report by Adfam and Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) explores and documents Child to Parent Violence (CPV) and consulted with 88 parents seeking support from services.

Key findings from the research found:
  • Children as young as 11 and as old as 40 are physically, emotionally and/or mentally abusing their parents
  • There is a significant correlation between substance misuse and perpetrating domestic violence
  • 88% of victims of abuse were female and 12% were male
  • That abuses range from lower grade emotional manipulation to at the extreme end deaths.
  • Metropolitan Police Service records show that in 2009, 6 out of 7 non-partner/ex partner victims were mothers or fathers killed by sons – with substance misuse or mental health problems considered a key factor

The report makes recommendation including calls for better understanding of CPV, how to respond to requests for help and referral mechanisms are needed for front-line workers (such as police, social workers and GPs. It argues family support services are a cost effective resource, providing essential support to parents at a fraction of the cost that other health and social care services.

Children’s Commissioner re-iterates calls for protection of children

A new report from the Children’s Commissioner urges the Government to give as much attention to alcohol abuse among parents as to other drug misuse, and to train the relevant authorities to spot the signs of problem drinking in families earlier. See BBC report.

The Children’s Commissioner exists to promote the best interests of children and young people in England. It’s report suggest more than a fifth of all children in the UK, approximately 2.5 million, are living with a hazardous drinker (risky) drinker. The research also suggests 26,000 babies in England are living with a parent who is a dependent drinker, which is equivalent to 31,000 across the UK.

More Bars = More Domestic Violence

Neighborhood bar density linked to intimate partner violence-related visits to hospital emergency department

  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been linked to heavy drinking, and alcohol outlet density to violence.
  • A new study looks at links between alcohol outlet densities and IPV-related Emergency Department (ED) visits.
  • Findings showed that bars are positively related to IPV-related ED visits, while there is no relationship between restaurant density and IPV-related ED visits.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been linked to heavy drinking, substance use by one or both partners, and living in a neighborhood characterized by poverty and social disadvantage. Alcohol outlet density has been linked to assaultive violence in a community. A study of the association between alcohol outlet densities and IPV-related visits to the Emergency Department (ED) throughout California between July 2005 and December 2008 has found that density of bars is associated with IPV-related ED visits.

Results will be published in the May 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"Most of the research on IPV-related ED visits has focused on individual factors," explained Carol B. Cunradi. "We wanted to extend this line of research by testing whether alcohol outlet densities are associated with IPV-related ED visits, while also taking into account other neighborhood-level characteristics previously shown to be linked with IPV."

"While a handful of international studies have looked at the geographic association between IPV and neighborhood conditions, this is the first study in the US documenting a relationship," added Richard Scribner. "This particular study is unique in that it uses an innovative data source available in California.”

"Although it is true that both bars/pubs and restaurants sell alcohol and food, we hypothesized that the context surrounding use of these two types of outlets would be quite different," said Cunradi. "For example, we expect that restaurants that also sell alcohol are frequented by couples and/or families primarily to have a meal that may or may not be accompanied by alcohol. On the other hand, we expect that bars/pubs are primarily frequented by men with or without their female partners, with the primary goal of drinking alcohol that may or may not be served with some food. There is also a large literature linking bar attendance, but not restaurants that serve alcohol, with aggression."

Cunradi and her colleagues computed half-yearly counts of ED visits related to IPV for individual zip codes taken from patient-level public datasets. Alcohol outlet density measures – calculated separately for bars, off-premise outlets such as liquor stores and grocery stores that sell alcohol, and restaurants – were derived from California Alcohol Beverage Control records.

"The key findings of the study are that the density of bars was positively associated with IPV-related ED visits, and the density of off-premise outlets was negatively associated with IPV-related visits," said Cunradi. "For the latter finding, the association was weaker and smaller than the bar association. There was no association between density of restaurants and IPV-related ED visits. These findings suggest that environmental factors, such as alcohol outlet density, affect IPV behaviors resulting in ED visits."

"These findings are impressive if for no other reason than the growing realization of the robustness of a measure like bar density in identifying neighborhoods where alcohol-related outcomes like IPV are more common," said Scribner. "Clearly, these results suggest bar density is a marker for some as-yet-unidentified mechanism that geographically concentrates a broad array of health outcomes."

Both Cunradi and Scribner noted that ED visits represent a much more serious level of IPV than police reports.

"Police-reported IPV cases may involve threatening behavior, property damage, loud arguments, and physical aggression that may or may not result in injury," said Cunradi. "In contrast, IPV-related ED visits are, by definition, injuries requiring medical attention."

"The take-home message is that environmental factors, such as alcohol outlet density, affect IPV behaviors resulting in ED visits," said Cunradi. "However, the absence of individual-level data do not allow us to determine the precise mechanisms that link an increase of one bar per square mile with a three percent increased likelihood of IPV-related ED visits in a given zip code. There is nonetheless research evidence linking bar attendance with aggressive behavior, both in and out of the bar. Additional research is needed to investigate how bar density results in increased risk for IPV related ED visits."

From EurekAlert!

Can You Be Addicted To People?

Can You Be Addicted To People? – EmpowHER.com.

With the recognition of alcoholism as an actual disease that can be passed down both culturally and genetically from one generation to the next, more and more outstanding work has been done to shed light on the numerous causal factors and impact of addiction on people, families, and communities. The sense of shame and hopelessness that people often feel is sometimes a stumbling block as they recognize their problems, but then go through denial and lose sight of how to begin the recovery process.

Full story at Can You Be Addicted To People? – EmpowHER.com.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome series: Mysterious clues led to FAS diagnosis

Baby with the FAS-syndrome.
Image via Wikipedia

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome series: Mysterious clues led to FAS diagnosis.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): A term widely adopted in 2003 to describe all alcohol-related disorders, including FAS, pFAS and ARND.

Behaviours associated with FASD include – Poor executive functioning, which may include difficulty planning, organizing, prioritizing and following through with tasks, being on time and sticking to a schedule.

- Impulsivity and may be over-reaction to stimulating environments.

- Often repeating the same mistakes because they don’t learn from past behaviours.

- Poor memory or an inconsistent memory, which is hard for teachers to understand because they might perform well on Monday but forget on Tuesday. Math and science are hard subjects to grasp, money management is a challenge.

- Frequent inability unable to make decisions or understand risks. While they often have good expressive skills, their receptive skills are weak so while they are nodding and pretending they understand, they might not. Often will say what he or she thinks you want to hear, thinks more slowly, gets “stuck” in rigid behaviour and has trouble changing gears stepping from one activity and starting another.

- Often functioning developmentally — socially, emotionally and cognitively — at half their chronological age. Tend to mature and “catch up” as much as they are going to by age 35, so will need support.

Source: Diane V. Malbin, Asante Centre

 

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Mysterious+clues+diagnosis/3928233/story.html#ixzz17UdnsPTp