1 in 5 seniors turning to alcohol to cope with coronavirus quarantine

Apr 20, 2020, 4:15 AM | Updated: 5:27 am

PHOENIX — If you haven’t called your grandparents recently, you might want to call to see how they’re handling coronavirus quarantine.

With seniors among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, they’ve likely been physical distancing or completely quarantined longer and more severely than most, and they may not be coping with it in the healthiest way.

“Approximately 1 out of 5 seniors is exhibiting signs of alcohol misuse,” Dr. Barry Freeman, senior medical director for OptumCare Network of Arizona, told KTAR News 92.3 FM

“In Arizona, with our shelter in place policy, a lot of our seniors our are struggling with emotions like fear, loneliness, stress, anxiety and just boredom from staying at home, and many may be turning to alcohol as a way to cope.”

Freeman says that U.S. alcohol sales went up by more than 50% last month.

He says that with a lack of face-to-face contact with our elderly friends and family nowadays, it’s important to check in more frequently.

“Some of the signs we should be looking for right now are maybe more confusion than usual or more memory problems,” Freeman explained.

“There could be some mood problems including agitation, think about fatigue or weakness that’s unexplained and then any complaints of dizziness.”

Freeman noted that in the short term, overconsumption in older adults can lead to falls, which can turn into much greater problems for people of advanced age. 

However, in the long term, it can lead to addiction, which can impact health in the coming years and make it more difficult to control existing conditions, such as diabetes.

“If you recognize that someone is having an issue with alcohol misuse or abuse it’s appropriate to bring it to their attention and encourage them to seek help,” Freeman said.

He said resources include contacting a primary care physician, reaching out to Alcoholics Anonymous and OptumCare is also providing a free emotion support care line at 1-866-342-6892.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Sunrise Park Resort screenshot)...

Sunrise Park Resort to open for 2021-22 winter season next week

Sunrise Park Resort announced Sunday it plans to open the 2021-22 winter season on Dec. 10, a week later than the projected date.
9 hours ago
(File photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)...

Arizona ranked as one of the least charitable states, per WalletHub

It's the season of giving but a personal finance website ranked Arizona as one of the least charitable states in the country.
9 hours ago
(City of Chandler Photo)...

Tumbleweed Tree lighting, Parade of Lights to take place this weekend in Chandler

An East Valley holiday tradition is back in-person this year as event organizers prepare for the 65th annual Tumbleweed Tree lighting and the Parade of Lights on Saturday.
9 hours ago
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Flagstaff pauses construction of USGS facilities over rising costs

The city of Flagstaff is hitting pause on the construction of new buildings in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey because of soaring costs.
9 hours ago
Americans are expected to spend an average of $886 on gifts this holiday season. Spending in Arizon...

It’s beginning to look a lot like a post-COVID Christmas for vendors

In the second holiday season of the pandemic era, goods may cost more, but Americans have more money to spend – and they appear to be eager to spend it.
9 hours ago
(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Nov. 26-28

Phoenix on Sunday having its first sub-50 degree low since March is among the biggest Arizona stories of the weekend.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
1 in 5 seniors turning to alcohol to cope with coronavirus quarantine