5 Tips for Conducting an Intervention with Your Senior Parent
Saturday, August 31, 2019

It’s a Conversation That’s Not Easy for Anyone.

But Confronting Alcohol Abuse in the Elderly Community is a Must.

An intervention is not easy for anyone. Whether you are talking to a friend, a co-worker, a stranger or a beloved family member, it is always a challenge. There a delicate balance of stern language and a loving tone that carries with it a tremendous amount of pressure to get it right. Having this conversation with an elder is tough. Having this conversation with a parent is even more daunting.

Ageism plays a part in the way we look at elders and drinking or drug addiction. When seniors drink more alcohol than is recommended, there is a tendency to say “well, they are older, so let them live and enjoy life.” The sad truth is that alcohol can prohibit seniors from enjoying life and can even lead to suicide. In fact, alcohol is a factor in about 30% of suicides (National Institute on Aging). If you think that your senior family member or friend has a drinking or substance abuse problem, it’s time to speak up because there could be grave repercussions.

But how do you do it? Here are some tips that can help you have an intervention discussion with your parent or senior family member:

Wait until they are sober to have the discussion.

If you catch someone while they are under the influence and try to have an intervention, it’s not going to go well. Find a time when they are not using to bring up the subject.

Try to have the conversation on neutral ground.

Having the conversation in your parent’s home can be hard because they might feel like they can do what they want in their own home. In your home, they feel like you are trying to take the authority away from them. A neutral site will make this conversation easier.

Use a loving and compassionate tone.

It’s easy for an elder adult to feel judged or feel like they are being chastised when undergoing an intervention. Rather than talking down to your parent, come at them from a position of love and concern. There is a good chance that they know they need help and are embarrassed about it. You don’t want to push them away from aid by having a tone of condemnation.

Help them come to the conclusion that they need help on their own.

Get your parent thinking about goals and relationships that they are abandoning due to their abuse. Don’t spell it out for them - get them to arrive there on their own, if possible.

Give them hope.

Treatment programs for seniors with substance abuse issues have higher success rates than most other demographics (American Journal of Geriatric Psychology). This can be attributed to them being more disciplined about recovery than younger demographics. Seniors simply comply better to treatment, and that means there is a good chance that they can beat the addiction.

McGregor PACE can help. You are not alone and neither is the senior you are helping. Contact us today to find out how McGregor PACE can help you and your loved one find hope and a new outlook on a great life.


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