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Looks for a big problem in old age: More and more people at retirement age are dependent on alcohol and medication.
Due to the demographic change in our society, alcohol addiction is becoming an ever increasing problem in old age. According to health experts, around 400,000 elderly people have a serious alcohol addiction problem. The dimensions of drug addiction are much larger, and it is estimated that up to two million older people in Germany are dependent on it.
Increase in addiction in old age
The addiction problem doesn't stop at age either. Around 400,000 people aged 65 and over are addicted to alcohol. According to the German Center for Addiction Issues (DHS), around 1.7 to 2.8 million people over the age of 60 (8.0 -13.0 percent) have problematic use of "psychoactive" drugs and pain relievers. However, many older people are not aware of this at all or simply do not care because they lack further perspectives.
Conference on addiction in old age due to a call for help from nursing homes
Reason enough to shed light on the topic on the part of the experts. On this occasion, a specialist conference was held today at the Schweriner See Clinic in Lübstorf. Three North German regional offices for addiction issues were invited. The experts discussed how nurses and consultants can deal with the topic in the future. Because addictions are no longer a marginal topic in the care of elderly people in old people's homes. "The topic has gradually become acute with the demographic change," said the managing director of the regional office for addiction issues in Schwerin, Claudia Diekneite. The addiction counselors from the federal states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein met with around 50 employees from old people's homes and advice centers. According to Diekneite, institutions for the elderly and counseling centers with a cry for help had asked in advance.
Addiction in nursing homes and clinics The problem has long been seen not only in old people's homes. The problem is also developing increasingly in hospitals and clinics. Because more and more patients are increasingly elderly people, said Diekneite on the sidelines of the conference. Many diseases in old age are now alcohol-related. So far, it was still assumed that "it is not so bad" if those affected drink a schnapps. After all, the elderly could not forbid the residents "the beer in the evening". According to the counselor, most older people would drink "moderately". However, many older people cannot tolerate alcohol by interacting with prescribed drugs. If the consumption is too high, the caregivers would have to intervene to contain health risks. "But how? There is a great deal of helplessness among the specialists," said Diekneite. Carers would have to address and motivate older people differently than younger people in the last third of their lives. For younger people, for example, one could use vocational training and goals for motivation. Many older people say they don't want it any other way, they would be fine. "If older people can be motivated, the success rate is still very high," says the expert. Because then they would notice that they are more efficient than before.
More and more seniors are dependent on medication
A very common, but less obvious problem, according to the addiction expert, is drug addiction. Drugs for pain or sleep disorders often lead to addiction with opiates. This addiction affects the health and quality of life of those affected and increases the expenditure on medication in the health system. A drug addiction in the elderly, for example, often leads to falls, some of which lead to permanent long-term care, according to the DHS. (sb, 28.09.2010)
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