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When seniors feel they’re losing their “purpose in life,” it substantially adds to ill health, depression and in the rise in the amount of drug and alcohol they consume, despite their body’s greater vulnerability to falling and abuse .

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Then talk to your loved one and see what you can do to minimize the feeling of losses — of spouses, of meaningful work,and of friends. — A sympathetic ear is something almost all of us like to have.  And don’t feel you need to have all the answers; just being there and listening is often very healing.  And beyond listening well, you can offer some ideas.  Since most people in this situation are lonely and drink or use by themselves at home, it is often helpful if you can suggest (or attend) ideas for more socialization, things that have been sources of pleasure to your loved one in the past, Inviting your senior to share about interesting life experience with you and younger family members is often very comforting to them and helps “make meaning.”    Encouraging them to develop new friends WILL help them and you to feel a little less lonely and hopefully have them using a lot less.