Grandmother addicted to painkillers

I live away from home, with my grandmother when I’m in university. Lately I’ve noticed that she’s taking a lot more of different types of painkillers than when I first moved in. My cousin tells me to talk to my mother and her sister about it. How do I even approach that conversation?

I’ve tried telling my mother about the side-effects of the mixture my grandmother is taking but she keeps telling me to “ignore it, she’s an old woman.” I can’t take that as an excuse anymore. What do I do?

Thanks so much.

Get Support

by: Ned Wicker

Most of the time I encourage young people to listen to their mothers, but in your case I’m with you. Ignoring your grandmother’s problem is not the answer. What about your father, aunts, uncles…anybody willing to listen? Don’t try to go this one alone, get some support.

You can also call Al-anon, as its members are people like you, who care about someone they love. They have been down this path before, so you’ll get straight answers.

Of course, you can try to gently talk to your grandmother. Tell her you have noticed she is taking a lot of medicine and you’re concerned. You probably already know she’ll deny having any problem and she’ll tell you not to worry. But it gets the issue on the table. I had a similar dialogue with my mother, which rendered nothing positive, but it at least got my father’s attention.

You can also document what you are observing. Perhaps you can take another run at your mother and present the facts. People who are slipping into addiction will give you the warning signs, so watch your grandmother and see if her life is changing. If there is some evidence, then maybe your mother will join you and get the rest of the family on the same page to effect action.

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