IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT an elderly parent or grandparent’s substance use, you’re not alone.
Americans over the age of 65 should limit their weekly alcohol consumption to no more than seven drinks, according to guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Yet some estimates suggest that as many as 15 percent of older adults in this country exceed this healthy limit (above which drinking is associated with various alcohol-related issues and constitutes “at-risk drinking”).
For this at-risk population, even a brief, more informal alcohol intervention (as opposed to a formal intervention facilitated by a certified professional) can be effective. Both the approach and level of advance preparation, such as familiarity with senior-specific treatment considerations and options, can be critical to ensuring a successful intervention. Here’s how to express your concerns in a way that’s helpful – not overbearing.