”Vi möter de ofrivilliga” – socialsekreterare om äldre personer med missbruksproblem
”We meet the involuntary” – social workers talk about older people with alcohol problems
Social workers working in addiction teams in the municipalities rarely have documented collaboration with elder care managers despite the fact that older people with alcohol problems have become more common within elder care, especially home care services. There are few studies of older people with alcohol problems, and knowledge on the subject is scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate how social workers within addiction treatment talk about older people with alcohol problems. Six group interviews and three individual interviews have taken place including a total of 18 social workers. The social workers came from seven different municipalities. Social workers usually meet older people with a long history of abuse and several institutional stays behind them. Many are reluctant to have further contact with social services. In the case of older persons with alcohol problems it is seldom considered appropriate to initiate treatment interventions. Older persons could however sometimes get a place at an abuse institution to get in better shape. In the interviews elder care is often looked upon as a way to get a better situation around an older person with alcohol problems. There are few treatment programmes aimed at older people with alcohol abuse problems. According to the social workers there is a lack of adequate institutional care and various social activities. Nor do older people with alcohol problems fit into activities organized by elder care. One conclusion is the need to develop different treatment interventions targeted at older people with alcohol problems as well as to develop cooperation between elder care and addiction teams.