Research has consistently proven that substance abuse is often a very significant contributing factor to elder abuse. Whether it is the victim or the perpetrator with a substance-abuse problem, addictions can definitely lead to elder abuse. Researchers, for example, have shown that people who have substance-abuse problems may target elder family members for financial exploitation and fraud in order to support a substance-abuse problem. In some cases, perpetrators have moved into an elder person’s home in order to operate a drug trafficking or drug use lifestyle.
In cases where elder abuse is perpetrated by a spouse, alcohol abuse or other substance abuse can contribute to the problem. An abusive spouse may rationalize their abuse through the use of drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol can also lower inhibitions and make someone more likely to be violent.
Caregivers with substance-abuse problems can also be a severe problem. Caregivers who are under stress as a result of providing care for an elderly person may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with their feelings and their stress levels. This can make them sloppy neglectful of their charges, and can also make them more likely to lash out at the elderly person that they may view as a “burden.” Caregivers may also force or compel an elderly person to take drugs or alcohol in order to make that person more passive and therefore easier to care for. In some cases the motives are even more sinister — a caregiver may hope that an elderly person is passive so that they become easier to exploit financially.
Elderly persons who have a drug or substance-abuse problem may also be at increased risk for self neglect. Elderly people who do have a substance-abuse problem may be less likely to turn to someone for help if they are the victim of abuse. Plus, someone who has a substance-abuse problem at an elderly age can be far more vulnerable, especially if they rely on someone else in order to procure drugs or alcohol for them. The person procuring the drugs or alcohol can easily take advantage of an elderly person, who is doubly vulnerable will because of their addiction. Since alcohol and drugs can affect mobility, elderly persons with substance abuse problems may be at risk of slip and fall accidents, which can lead to spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and other serious injuries. Some medications can also react with alcohol and recreational drugs, so persons taking medication for a condition can complicate their conditions through a substance abuse problem.
Elderly persons may take drugs or alcohol in order to cope with abuse or other difficult situations. Unfortunately, seniors with addictions can create problems for themselves. Substance abuse can estrange these seniors from their families and can create conflicts with caregivers and family members. This can encourage abuse or can ensure that abuse continues, simply because the elderly person has no one to turn to.
No one deserves to be abused. If you suspect that an elderly loved one is suffering abuse, report the problem to the authorities at once. If, like many families, you’re having trouble getting adequate help from official channels, consider hiring a qualified Florida attorney. A good attorney can help ensure that the process of helping the victim is quick and thorough. We can help ensure that your elderly loved one gets the care and safe environment that they deserve. Call 1- 800-535-2962 (1 800 5 FLAXMAN) to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.