Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Not so golden...
I'm doing my happy dance... I was very excited to open my e-mail and find that I have been listed in the Top 44 Best DUI and Alcohol Safety Resources website! You can visit this website at http://www.totaldui.com/blog/dealing-with-dui-44-best-dui-alcohol-and-driver-safety-resources/ There is a lot of good information. Please make sure to check out this terrific resource.
I have read that there are more alcoholics that are senior citizens now than ever before. That makes sense to me since a higher percentage of the population is now reaching their senior years. Baby boomers are now in their 50’s-60’s and preparing for retirement, if they haven’t yet retired. When combined with the fact that humans are enjoying a longer life span, due to medical breakthroughs and a high effort being put on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it stands to reason that there are more seniors in our midst.
These seniors may have been social drinkers in their earlier years and alcohol may not have been a problem. But, when retirement approached, these same seniors had more time on their hands and that means more time to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. The martini after work became the Mimosa at the breakfast buffet. And the brandy before bed turned into Margaritas at the pool and the poolside party started at 11 AM EVERY day instead of just Sundays after church. More time to enjoy, more reason to socialize, more alcohol to consume. Instead of seeing the lifetime alcoholic, we see a new breed – the Leisure Alcoholic.
I’m sure that some would say, “Hey seniors have earned the right to a bit of irresponsibility.” A bit of irresponsibility occasionally isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the Leisure Alcoholic that gets caught up in the cycle, because, as we all know, alcoholic can grab you when you least expect it.
Being forced into retirement earlier last month has left me a little dazed and confused. I’ve had a job since I was 14 years old. I always knew what was expected of me each and every day. I knew where I had to be and when I had to be there and for how long. Large chunks of my day were pre-destined. When the lay-off happened, I often woke up in the morning and wondered what I was supposed to do that day. I could do anything I wanted, but I felt that if I did what I wanted, I must be ignoring something that I was SUPPOSED to do. The job loss left me angry. I was an excellent employee and was always considered to be a “company girl.” It felt unfair that they would put me out to pasture now. Fortunately, I already had a full plate of projects. I just had to learn to not feel guilty that I was working on them rather than working for an employer.
I would imagine that some seniors don’t have the same “project quota” that I have. Many of them simply went to work, had a few outside social activities, and went home. It would seem to me that the initial shock, no matter how welcomed, might throw some into a depression. If you mix depression with an increased level of alcohol consumption, you have a recipe for disaster.
Just as a hypothetical, let’s say a senior has been retired for ten years and is now drinking alcoholicly every single day. The children have left home and there is just the elderly husband and wife left in the house. No one really notices that alcohol has become an issue because it’s just the two of them. When the kids visit, who have never seen either of their parents drunk except on a rare occasion, they see a couple who are just enjoying their life. The alcoholism can go unnoticed for quite a while.
What happens if the non-alcoholic part of the couple becomes ill or takes a fall and now needs assistance on a daily basis. No one thinks much about it because the partner is there with the ailing senior. What no one sees or realizes is that the non-alcoholic is now in even more trouble because the partner is now an alcoholic.
Imagine if you were sick, unable to cook your own meals or do your own laundry and you were totally dependent on an alcoholic to do those things for you. I could not imagine eating anything Riley ever cooked for me even though he was one an excellent cook. And I’d rather buy new clothes than to let him do my laundry.
I don’t know how often that happens. It just seems to me that if it happens even once – it’s one time too many. Anyone who has been reading my blog on a regular basis knows that I’m really big on being prepared for the worst. But, what if the worst snuck up on you and takes you by surprise? By that time, you could be in a situation that could be deadly.
If you have the ability to do so, I recommend preparing for your golden years so that they will still be golden no matter what. I’m not sure how to do that if no one really knows that your mate has become an alcoholic at 60 years old. Maybe we, as a society, should be on the look out for our elder citizens and help them ask for help when they may not be comfortable doing it for themselves. Maybe we should be aware at Bingo when someone consistently has a few too many before the games even being. Or when a group of gentlemen hang out at poolside from Friday night to Sunday night continuously, maybe someone should go check on the wives.
I’m not sure of the answer and I hate the question.
at 7:39 PM