“As individuals get older, they begin to lose what had previously been big parts of their identity and purpose,” says Joseph Gorordo, a licensed chemical dependency counselor. “Children grow up and become self-sufficient. Careers that took up so much time and contributed so much structure end. Social supports, such as friends and family [members], begin to pass away.”
It may be difficult to tell if an elderly family member is struggling with alcohol use disorder as many symptoms are similar to other common issues caused by the aging process including unexplained injuries, mobility issues and sudden mood swings. Caregivers need to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior patterns and signs like empty liquor bottles or frequent cash withdrawals.