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5 Common Signs of Substance Abuse in Family Caregivers

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Caregiving involves a great deal of stress that can sometimes add up if a person does not have the proper resources to help him or her manage the emotion. Unaddressed stress can sometimes lead to substance abuse among caregivers. For this reason, everyone involved in a senior’s care should be aware of these five warning signs that a caregiver may be abusing substances.

1. Expressing Erratic Behavior

A caregiver who suddenly begins acting out of character may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In some instances, a caregiver suddenly starts showing up late. You may also notice personality changes such as expressing frustration. Since erratic behavior affects your loved one personally, it may be necessary to have another caregiver step in until the problem is under control.

Birmingham in-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

2. Finding Physical Evidence

When substance abuse becomes more significant, a caregiver may not be as adept at hiding the problem. You may find empty wine bottles in the trash can or notice the caregiver drinking more than a casual amount when you are eating dinner together. While the caregiver may not be aware he or she is drinking more than normal, this could also be a cry for help.

3. Sensing Something Is Wrong

As the family member of a senior loved one, you likely know when something isn’t right. Perhaps you noticed the caregiver seems overwhelmed or you detected alcohol on his or her breath in the middle of the day. When you sense something is off, it is best to open up a dialogue with your loved one and the caregiver. You may find the caregiver confesses to being overwhelmed so you can get help for him or her.

Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. For many seniors in Birmingham, Alabama, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

4. Discovering a Senior’s Medication Is Missing

Many seniors take pain pills and other types of medication that may be tempting to caregivers who have abused drugs in the past. Always make sure new professional caregivers have been screened for drugs and have a clean background check, and avoid asking a family member with known drug addiction to help with medication reminders.

5. Noticing Changes in a Senior’s Health

One of the worst problems with substance abuse among caregivers is that it can impact a senior’s health. For instance, a caregiver may forget to remind a senior to take medication or choose to skip making dinner. Take action by arranging for professional support to step in while your family member seeks a solution for handling stress.

Birmingham respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. If your aging loved one needs assistance with daily activities or you need a break from your caregiving duties, call Home Care Assistance at (205) 438-6927 today.