As the body ages, it becomes more fragile and susceptible to aches and pains. The reliance seniors have on opioids has increased at an alarming rate. What is even more alarming is the rate at which hospitalization takes place. According to federal data, seniors who are hospitalized due to opioids have tripled in the last decade in Tennessee alone.
A Psychological Link Exists
Further investigation by the NCBI reveals that substance abuse, including alcohol and prescription medication, has never really been investigated before. The investigation also reveals that this affects more seniors every year. The system is not geared to assist these seniors and other avenues need to be explored. Tapering medication and beginning visits to a psychologist are a good start.
Assisted Living Could Be the Key
Loneliness and boredom often aggravate pain as the manifestation of the physical can often affect the psyche of the patient. When a person is surrounded by friends, family, or acquaintances, it’s easier to be distracted from the pain. Assisted living is an option for seniors who battle their pain alone. They will be accountable to others and some facilities offer guidance counseling as well. Those who are at risk of substance abuse can be closely monitored in the right environment.
Fun Social Programs and Events Make a Difference
For Ana Miranda (65) and a group of friends, aging is a breeze as they grace the local San Francisco stages with their dance routines. They are all part of the San Francisco Mission Neighborhood Center Healthy Aging program. The program is said to beat the blues by keeping their bodies and minds healthy and active. The social interaction also provides some distraction from the mundane everyday life seniors are often faced with. According to Ana, the program has helped her battle stressful situations and even depression.
Alternative Therapy Makes a Difference
Parkinson’s sufferers not only have to face embarrassing moments due to the lack of control of their limbs, but also endure pain. Medication is always the first option, but for members of Elizabeth Stegemöller’s music group, medication might no longer be the only option. This assistant-professor from Iowa State University assists those with Parkinson’s gain better muscle control through music. The result? A reduction in stress, mood, and depression.
Substance abuse has a debilitating effect on the patient and loved ones. Seniors are more at risk of substance abuse than other age groups as their groups are not as carefully monitored. It is also almost unthinkable to not provide pain tablets to those in discomfort, which increases the risk of abuse. Personal attention and exposure to alternatives could set this trend back on a downward slope.