The golden years, a time for easy living and to kick back and enjoy the slower pace deserved after a lifetime of schedules and the 9-to-5 treadmill.
But did you know that for many people, deviating from this routine of work, managing the home and raising children to one with lots of unstructured time on their hands can present some huge problems especially if those people are predisposed to addiction issues and never fully realized it until their senior years?
Addiction specialist Dr. Akikur R. Mohammad, MD sees many patients over the age of 55 who find out the hard way that they cannot handle alcohol or pain medicine and maintain their sobriety.
They turn to him for medically supervised detoxification and learn how to manage time, activities and their social lives so that they do not fall into bad habits and relapse.
Dr. Akikur Mohammad, M.D.,
Dr. Mohammad, founder of Inspire Malibu, considered an elite medically-based addiction rehabilitation center, tells Monsters and Critics’ readers to watch for these five flashpoints and offers some recommendations:
“When someone has no routine, they get lazy and slip into bad habits, letting physical routines slide and sleeping too much. A little structure can go a long way,” says Dr. Mohammad.
“Letting social situations and friendships slide and go by the wayside. This is the time to reconnect and join groups and clubs, reach out and volunteer. Extend yourself, get involved with your church or synagogue or civic center. Find a cause, whether it is helping tutor children with special needs, fostering abandoned animals, communal gardening or volunteering at the local library or museum, these activities will net new friendships and keep your brain active.” says Dr. Mohammad.
“Not having to work tomorrow lets many retirees drink every day; for those who are prone to addiction it all catches up with them. Don’t look for excuses to minimize alcohol consumption. Daily drinking is an insidious and harmful habit. Drinking alone is another dangerous habit,” says Dr. Mohammad.
“The worry, fear and progression of age, illnesses, and the older you get the more your close relations pass away, leaving you to feel badly about it. It’s not easy, but don’t let yourself succumb to negative news about parents, uncles and aunts, siblings, childhood friends. Try and keep your network of friends and social outlets up to date and work at keeping in touch with people, even when you don’t feel like it, it does help to talk,”says Dr. Mohammad.
“Living with chronic pain and aches takes a toll. The lack of mobility, the lack of quality sleep and constant pain are a huge issue. Senior ailments such as painful hips, knees, arthritis all offer an opportunity to abuse addictive pain medications. There are gentle exercise treatments like Tai Chi and Yoga that can help eradicate pain and in time strengthen atrophied muscles. Massage and swimming also are excellent options to explore,” says Dr. Mohammad.
Dr. Mohammad suggests that all seniors keep connected through family and community and faith groups, and buddy up in their neighborhoods. There are senior centers in many cities, and he urges adult children to actively help their parents find and connect with these useful resource hubs that are excellent directories for even more information and qualified help: