A national 2008 survey found that about 40 percent of adults ages 65 and older drink alcohol. Older adults can experience a variety of problems from drinking alcohol, especially those who:
• Take certain medications
• Have health problems
• Drink heavily
There are special considerations facing older adults who drink, including:
Increased Sensitivity to Alcohol
Aging can lower the body’s tolerance for alcohol. Older adults generally experience the effects of alcohol more quickly than when they were younger. This puts older adults at higher risks for falls, car crashes, and other unintentional injuries that may result from drinking.
Increased Health Problems
Certain health problems are common in older adults. Heavy drinking can make these problems worse, including:
High blood pressure
Congestive heart failure
Memory problems AND
Bad Interactions with Medications
Many prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as herbal remedies can be dangerous or even deadly when mixed with alcohol. Medications that can interact badly with alcohol include:
Cold and allergy medicine
Pain medication And/Or
Anxiety or depression medicine
Drinking Guidelines for Older Adults
Adults over age 65 who are healthy and do not take medications should not have more than:
- 3 drinks on a given day
- 7 drinks in a week
Drinking more than these amounts puts people at risk of serious alcohol problems.
If you have a health problem or take certain medications, you may need to drink less or not at all.