Substance Use Disorders and Older Adults: A Hidden Epidemic?

Research shows that approximately 17% of American adults age 60 and over misuse alcohol and prescription drugs, but substance use disorders in this population are often undiagnosed and untreated. Symptoms of substance abuse may go unrecognized because they mimic the symptoms of other medical and behavioral disorders, such as diabetes, depression, and dementia. In addition, older adults who are no longer employed, are perhaps socially isolated, and drive less (or not at all), can more easily conceal the signs and symptoms of alcohol or drug dependence, such as cravings, blackouts, physical signs of withdrawal, and neglecting responsibilities.

Clients Who Hoard: Is Relocation a Viable Solution?

Sometimes hoarding starts after the person has experienced trauma or a stressful life event, such as divorce or the death of a spouse. It is more common in older adults, and sometimes develops when a person has Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Many people who hoard are socially isolated, or become isolated from family members out of shame and embarrassment at the condition of their homes.

Understanding the Basics of Guardianship

Guardians are expected to act in the best interests of the incapacitated person. While guardianship removes certain rights and privileges from the ward, the intent is to preserve as much of the person’s independence and decision-making as possible. In Texas, the two types of guardianship are Guardian of the Person, whose responsibility is to take care of the ward’s physical well-being, and Guardian of Estate, who is appointed to manage a ward’s assets. Both types of guardians may be appointed by the court and can be the same individual or entity.