5 Signs of Substance Abuse in Family Caregivers

By David Parks, 9:00 am on

Some family caregivers are put into a role they are not prepared for, and others never receive the support they need when caring for a senior loved one. Both of these situations could cause family caregivers to turn to substance abuse as a way to manage their emotions. However, this puts their lives at risk, as well as the lives of their senior loved ones. Here are some of the signs of substance abuse in family caregivers. 

1. Depression

Providing constant care to an elderly loved one can affect a family caregiver’s psychological health. Higher levels of anxiety, stress, and depression are common with family caregivers. As a result of these emotional health effects, caregivers may begin taking substances to escape the negative emotions. When you see your loved one’s caregiver become depressed, this is a sign to step in and offer more assistance. You can prevent this from happening by considering outside help. 

Fort Worth in-home 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. Isolation

Although it is important for family caregivers to have time for themselves, you should be alarmed if you notice a caregiver isolating him or herself. If the caregiver refuses to come out of a room when you are in the house, or he or she always schedules outings when other people are coming to the home, this could be a sign of substance abuse. To prevent this from happening, offer the family caregiver support. If he or she cannot talk to you about the issues and concerns, sign him or her up for a support group dedicated to family caregivers. Being around people who have gone through similar issues allows caregivers to vent, and it often leads to fresh ideas. 

It’s essential that family caregivers take time to care for themselves. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Fort Worth Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

3. Missing Money

A family caregiver will likely have access to your loved one’s personal information, including financial accounts. If you notice money is missing and credit cards are being used without authorization, this could be a sign of substance abuse in the family caregiver. He or she could be using the money and merchandise to purchase drugs. To prevent this from happening, make sure your loved one’s financial information is always protected. You should also seek immediate medical attention for the family caregiver. Getting counseling, a medical detox, and family support could help the caregiver stop using substances. 

4. Neglected Appearance

Family caregivers don’t have to dress up in fancy clothing each day, but when you notice a lack of grooming or interest in clothing, this could be a sign of substance abuse. Someone who once valued his or her appearance will not go through drastic changes. To prevent this from happening, encourage the caregiver to stay physically active, socially engaged, and motivated. This could prevent substance abuse and motivate him or her to live a healthier lifestyle. 

5. Lack of Ambition 

Being a family caregiver gives people the chance to bond with their senior loved ones, but it also requires a lot of time and commitment. This could lead to giving up on a dream job or falling behind on career goals. A family caregiver who sees other family members flourishing could begin to regret the decision to become a caregiver and turn to drugs and alcohol. As a family, you should all commit to sharing the caregiving responsibilities. Encourage the caregiver to continue going to college, working his or her regular job, and making time for goals. Consider hiring a professional in-home caregiver to lighten the load for everyone.

Fort Worth respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. To hire a professional caregiver for your elderly loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (817) 349-7599 today.

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