Myth: My father has been drinking all his life. He's too old to change.
Fact: You are never too old to change. Older adults have the best recovery rate from addictions of any age group.
Myth: Drinking is the only pleasure they have left. Why deprive them of the one thing that makes them happy?
Fact: Alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol abusers feel guilty, ashamed and depressed, not happy.
Myth: The doctor says a glass of wine in the evening is good for the heart.
Fact: Is the person on any type of medication? If so, mixing medication with alcohol can be dangerous and even deadly.
Myth: They drink to relieve the pain.
Fact: Are they on pain medication? Mixing medications with alcohol can be dangerous and even deadly. Once the alcohol wears off the physical problem will still exist.
Myth: I'm only a neighbor. I'm sure their family would do something if it were that bad.
Fact: Their family may not know about the problem, especially if they live far away. You may be the only source of help available to him.
Myth: He/she is too respectable to be an alcoholic.
Fact: Alcoholism has nothing to do with personality, it is a disease. Nice older people can have this disease.
Myth: He/she is too old to have become an alcoholic.
Fact: Alcoholism can occur at any age.
Myth: I never see her/him drink alcoholic beverages.
Fact: Alcoholics often keep their drinking habits secret.
Myth: He/she is not always drunk.
Fact: Few alcoholics remain continually drunk. It is their continual dependence on alcohol that defines their alcoholism.
Myth: Her/his family is so respectable that alcoholism is not possible.
Fact: Many older alcoholics have nice families and are able to be an active part of their families while denying their disease.
Myth: He/she only drinks wine or beer not distilled liquor, so he/she is not an alcoholic.
Fact: Any beverage containing alcohol is capable of triggering alcohol abuse.
Myth: Let him/her have the alcohol. He/she doesn't have that much longer to live. Besides, older people cannot change their habits.
Fact: Alcoholism is a chronic disease requiring treatment to enable healthy, happy life. Older people can learn and change.
Myth: She/he has always been such an independent, strong-willed person. I'm sure she/he will be able to overcome the need for alcohol.
Fact: Alcoholism cannot be cured by willpower alone, but it can be treated medically and with counseling.
[Source: "Alcoholism and the Older Adult: Messages of Concern," Nancy J. Osgood, Ph.D.]