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Intervention. What kind of treatment for older dad

answered 04:36 PM EST, Fri August 19, 2011
We are planning a family intervention for my dad. He started drinking really heavily after he retired and he is going downhill fast and all of us in the family agree that we need to get him some help right away.

I am organizing this thing and the family is behind me on all of it. The main problem I have is that I am not sure what kind of treatment he needs to get, providing he agrees to go. I think that alcohol rehab would be best. But he is a kind of cantankerous 62 year old ex general contractor and I cannot imagine him sharing his feelings and fears in some sort of touchy feely group session with a bunch of people half his age.

Is this important? Our budget is not huge but there are some general rehab programs around here that we can afford. Programs for older adults that I have looked into tend to be farther away (which I think will be hard to sell to my dad) and more expensive (which is a problem). How important is it that we get him into some sort of treatment with people his own age?

Dr. David Sack Says...

At age 62, it would probably be better for your dad to go for detox and treatment in a residential setting if that is financially feasible.  The age ranges vary a great deal at different programs and your father would probably have a better experience in a program that predominantly treats people who are middle age or who offer special groups separated by age.  His needs and challenges may be quite different than a 20 something who has dropped out of college because of cocaine and pills.
Having said that, treatment is always better than no treatment.  Many programs will offer adjustments or payment plans to help clients get into treatment.  You should not be afraid to ask for an accommodation, since the worst that can happen is that they say they do not have any available.

The good news is that regardless of the program he attends, there are many different AA meetings in the community and he is likely to find a number of them where he feels comfortable with the members.

You might consider using part of your budget for a professional interventionist. Not only will they increase the chances of getting your father into treatment, but they may also have relationships with rehabs that will make negotiating the cost easier.

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Page last updated Aug 22, 2011

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