Adult Children Of Alcoholics Or Substance Abusers And Caring For An Aging or Elderly Parent – What You Should Know
Article by M. Joy Young, LCSW, ACSW Portland Oregon
How many of these situations are true for you?
Did you grow up with one or both of your parents abusing alcohol or substances?
Is your alcohol or substance abusing parent now elderly and in need of constant help and are looking to you?
Are you currently caring for your alcohol or substance abusing parent and find yourself feeling resentful and angry?
Do you refuse to help with caregiving for your alcohol or substance abusing parent because they neglected you in childhood?
Are your siblings leaving all the hard caregiving tasks for you to do but demand control of decisions and resources?
Do you sometimes think “why should I help you, you were never there for me”?
If your answers were YES to these questions then you are probably in the right place.
Caring for someone who is frail, vulnerable, and elderly is difficult no matter if you are being paid or not. It can be more difficult if that person is a beloved parent. BUT IT CAN MUCH MORE difficult if that aging or elderly parent was or still is an alcoholic, substance abuser, or was abusive or neglectful to you during childhood.
Ask yourself these questions…
Do you have a history of neglect by your alcoholic or substance abusing parent?
Memories of broken promises?
Was your alcoholic or substance abusing parent irresponsible and without remorse?
Were you often disappointed and ashamed of your family growing up?
These powerful issues will influence your ability to caregive no matter how much you think it’s all behind you.
The good news is: you CAN provide compassionate and loving care for your aging or elderly alcohol or substance abusing parent but you will need help.
Caring for an aging or elderly parent summons up all our emotional and physical strength. No one teaches you how to do it. If you have not done any prior counseling or personal growth work chances are you will either abandon your alcoholic or substance abusing elderly parent, meet the situation with excessive anger or possible aggression, or use the situation as an opportunity to “get even”.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Would you like to…
Help care for your aging or elderly alcoholic or substance abusing parent parent without resentment from the past?
Feel less guilt and anger for what was done to you in the past?
Use your aging or elderly alcoholic or substance abusing parent’s need for care as an opportunity to find understanding and closure to a painful past?
Get support, encouragement, and resources that can help make your interactions with your aging or elderly alcoholic or substance abusing parent more tolerable?
Learn how to communicate with your aging or elderly alcoholic or substance abusing parent with concern and kindness while holding them accountable for their past misdeeds.
Counseling can be a great way to get the emotional support, caregiving resources, and healing you need so that you can meet caring for an aging or elderly alcoholic or substance abusive parent with compassion, self respect, and good will.
You may not be able to change the past but there is still time to find YOUR way to a more peaceful relationship with your parent. If you are ready to have more tolerable interactions with your alcoholic or substance abusive elderly parent, feel less resentment and anger, and get resources that can make things a lot easier for everyone please contact Joy at (503) 309-1163 or email joy at