Coming to the realization that your aging parent is misusing prescription medication or drinking too much alcohol can be painful. Your parent may have had some kind of substance abuse problem for some time, and when you finally notice and admit that it's an issue, you may feel that they need treatment right away. However, be certain to use some of these suggestions to avoid alienating them or making things worse:
Seek Out Professionals
Even if your intentions are good, your senior parent may become very angry if you approach the subject of substance abuse. It is unlikely to be something they want to talk about with you, especially because you're their child and they don't feel that you have the right to say much. That's why immediate professional help is vital.
A substance abuse professional will help you think through the situation and provide advice that may make confrontation easier. Be sure that you have as much information as you need when you meet the professional; a medication list and some notes about your parent's behavior could help, for instance. They will recommend possible treatments so that when you do speak to your parent, you have some solutions in mind.
Don't Throw Out Supply
Your immediate thought may be to pour drinks into the sink or to get rid of pills that they shouldn't have. However, this can make your parent upset, making a discussion about their problem difficult. Moreover, they're likely to obtain more of the substance of their choice and begin hiding it from you; you'll be less able to monitor their behavior and usage.
Don't Abandon Them
If you've already had a conversation about their problem and it didn't go well, you might have threatened your parent with your absence. This can be traumatic for your parent and cause problems for you too. If you abandon them, they may be less able to care for themselves and their substance abuse problem could start getting even worse. Do your best to support your parent during this time without disappearing. If a conversation becomes tense or uncomfortable, you can drop it and revisit the topic at another time. Remember that their problem could be clouding their judgment and affecting the way they're interacting with you.
Your elderly parent's substance abuse issues can be handled with treatment. Discuss with professionals the best plan for them so that they can be healthy again. Contact a company like Bridgeway Recovery Services Inc for more information and assistance.