Baby Boomers and Older Adult Intervention

Baby Boomers and Older Adult Intervention


Family and friends must recognize that the consequences of an alcohol or other drug problem are different for the older adult. Since many older adults are retired, drive less, live away from family and friends, are financially independent, and drink alone at home, they don’t experience the same kinds of consequences as a younger person. When you write your letter to the older adult, you must shift your thinking when you are looking for examples of negative consequences. A younger person may have a drunk driving arrest, threat of job loss, financial problems, or divorce. These consequences are less likely to occur in the older adult’s life.


An excerpt from the book Love First:

“If the person you are interveninOlder couple: who is the alcoholic?g on is an older adult, age fifty-five or older, you need additional information before proceeding with an intervention. Symptoms of alcohol dependence can mirror symptoms of diseases and conditions that may occur as we grow older. These symptoms include shakiness, frequent falls, excessive napping, depression, reduced interest in food, isolation, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, bruising, incontinence, and poor hygiene. Alcohol dependence is sometimes misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s, stroke or Parkinson’s Disease.”


Intervening on an older adult requires special understanding of the thinking and the needs of this age group, and a specific language, as described in the book Aging and Addiction. A love first approach is especially important when intervening on an elder person. Confrontation only increases a sense of shame which can lead to defensiveness and resistance. Love and understanding are more effective at opening the door between you and your older loved one.


Aging and Addiction

“An important new book. A godsend for older adults and those who care for them. Here readers will find easy-to-understand explanations for the specific problems of addiction and clear paths to lifelong recovery.”
Robert L. DuPont, M.D.
Former director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Former Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy


Older adults often need greater support in treatment due to a more complex detoxification from alcohol or prescription drugs, multiple medical problems that can block treatment, memory loss, reduced mobility including difficulty driving, and slower overall progress in recovery For this reason, inpatient treatment in a center specializing in older alcoholics is often best.


Alcoholics over 55 years old often take longer to recover, but their success in long term recovery is higher than any other age group. If you are not sure if your older parent or grandparent is suffering from an addiction to alcohol or mood-altering prescription drugs, answer the questions on the quiz: Signs of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Older Adults.


meet our clinical interventionists


“This book will help save lives. It’s that simple. Aging and Addiction – intelligent, readable, and well-research – is above all an immensely compassionate book offering hope and direction to families and readers with concerns for an older adult who may be abusing alcohol or medications.”

-Barry McCaffrey

former White House Drug Czar


  To learn more about how Barefoot Chaplain Intervention Services can help you, contact us from anywhere in the USA at (805) 801-8986 / or email us at

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