Signs Of Substance Abuse In Seniors Family Members Shouldn’t Ignore

Seniors who are living alone have a higher risk of developing a substance abuse issue. Abusing alcohol or prescription medications can put seniors at serious risk of falling, developing depression, and experiencing other physical and mental health problems.

Often family members don’t recognize the symptoms of substance abuse in their senior parent because they aren’t around them all the time. It can be very helpful to get companion care at home for a senior parent so that your senior parent isn’t alone, and so that you have a better idea of how they are living.

Companion Care: Signs Of Substance Abuse in Glenview, IL

Companion Care: Senior Substance Abuse in Glenview, IL

Companion care can also ensure that seniors aren’t accidentally taking too much of their prescription medications, taking them at the wrong times, or mixing medications with alcohol. If you notice that your senior parent is displaying any of these substance abuse don’t wait. Talk to them, get them some medical help, take action.


The most common signs of substance abuse in seniors are:

Changes in Behavior

Sudden and unexplained changes in behavior may indicate substance abuse, especially if your senior parent has struggled with substance abuse in the past. Seniors may become more irritable, agitated, or withdrawn. Personality shifts and mood swings may also be noticeable.

Withdrawing From Family And Friends

Seniors who are abusing substances may withdraw from social activities and isolate themselves from family and friends. This isolation can be a coping mechanism or a result of shame and guilt associated with substance abuse. If your senior parent is isolating themselves at home encourage them to get out of the house, but also consider getting companion care so that they aren’t alone at home.

Decline in Personal Hygiene

Neglecting personal hygiene is a red flag. Seniors who were once meticulous about their appearance may show signs of unkemptness, disheveled clothing, and poor grooming habits. That could indicate that they are having trouble with activities of daily living because of a medical condition too.

Changes in Sleep Patterns

Substance abuse can disrupt normal sleep patterns. Seniors may experience insomnia, oversleeping, or erratic sleep cycles. These changes can contribute to fatigue and worsen overall well-being.

New Physical Health Issues

Substance abuse can manifest in physical health problems. Unexplained weight loss, frequent illnesses, and a decline in overall health may be indicative of substance-related issues. If your senior parent who was in good health suddenly seems to be having colds more often, or struggling with other health problems that could be an indication there is more going on.

Neglecting Household Chores And Responsibilities

Seniors who are abusing substances may neglect their responsibilities, such as bills, household chores, or appointments. This decline in functioning is a clear sign that something may be amiss. It also could mean that they physically are having trouble keeping up with chores. Companion care at home can provide the extra support your senior parent may need to continue living alone safely.


If your senior parent has started falling more often that is a concern. Whether the issue is medical or due to substance abuse the cause needs to be addressed before your senior parent gets seriously hurt.

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If you or an aging loved one are considering Companion Care at Home in Glenview, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.

Jamie Shapiro