senior parent recovery

Re-establish the Bond with a Senior Parent in Addiction Recovery

Nov 20 2017

The holidays are the perfect time to rekindle old flames, set aside differences and welcome estranged members back into our circle. However, once addiction takes hold of a person’s life, this can change relational dynamics for the worst. Though we often stereotype those with addictions as reckless, irresponsible or having a lack of willpower, addiction can happen to anyone, including those who are age 65 and older.


If you have a parent who is currently undergoing addiction recovery, there’s no better time than during the holiday season to implement some tips on forging strained relationships and achieving closeness between you and your loved one.


Understanding Addiction


The National Center for Biotechnology Information indicates that drug abuse among the elderly is one of the fastest growing epidemics in the country. For an older adult, the prospect of moving to a smaller home, children relocating to carry on with their own lives, the death of a partner and failing health can all lead to dependency issues. Though the elderly only make up roughly 13 percent of the population, the demographic is also the most likely to be prescribed ongoing prescription medications, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Because the elderly are also the most likely to experience a decline in thought processes and brain function, a growing addiction is more likely to occur.


Addiction is a chronic illness, so it’s important to understand it as a means to a fuller recovery. Due to the stigma surrounding the disease, many sufferers are often relegated to handle the issue on their own, especially a senior whose condition is often mistaken for something else. However, with a fuller understanding of what addiction is, you can help an addict reach recovery much faster.


Reuniting the Family


The price of being an addict is high, costing much valuable time, family, friends and even their self-worth. It’s easy to see why an addict may become estranged with loved ones since the likelihood of lying, breaking the law or squandering money is more likely than not. However, making amends is one of the best ways for an addict to recuperate lost or stolen time with loved ones.


Perhaps your parent wants to make amends this holiday season. It’s not easy to forget all the heartache he or she might have caused, but one should always attempt to forgive so that you can have a brighter future together. It takes two to create a connection and though it takes some time, try to make an effort in forgiving and releasing anger, as it will prove beneficial to you too.


Monitor Behavior


The holidays are a great way to check in on your parents, especially if you live far away. By checking in monthly, bi-annually, or every weekend, you’re more likely to notice any critical differences in their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.


While the holiday season can bring on excessive stress and worry for both the child and the parent, it’s essential that you don’t put fuel to the fire by expelling blame and shame, which can likely lead to relapse. Instead, consider bringing up sensitive issues at a time that is most appropriate-not in the middle of dinner, where likelihood for embarrassment will occur.


Older adults have feelings and needs just like the rest of us. While you cannot make anyone quit or work through recovery for them, you don’t have to accept specific behaviors into your own life. At worst, becoming overbearing may push your loved one away. Done in a discreet manner, such as going to therapy together, will help you find clarity and support for you and your loved one.


Addiction can catch anyone off guard. Taking the time to understand the causes and the best ways to handle them will not only help an aging recovering addict reclaim their life, but you will also recover your peace of mind and gain back your parent. Contact Recovery Solutions of Central Florida today to get started on the road to recovery.

Author: Teresa Greenhill

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