5 Warning Signs of Caregiver Substance Abuse

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Signs of Substance Abuse in Family Caregivers in Mississauga, ON

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

1. 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 uncharacteristic expressions of 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.

Elder 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. 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’re 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. Things that Seem “Off”

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’s 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.

If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Mississauga, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

4. Missing Medication

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 clean background checks, and avoid asking a family member with a known drug addiction to help with medication reminders.

5. 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.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Mississauga Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at 905-337-1200.


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