by Paul Sacco, PhD MSW
“Alcohol use is common among seniors. Nearly half of older adults aged 65 and older report having consumed alcohol in the past year. They may have a drink at a social event or party, to enhance their mood, or as a means of coping with a difficult symptom such as insomnia. Some older adults even drink alcohol for perceived positive health effects.
“Although drinking and alcohol problems are less common in older adults than younger people, alcohol use in older adulthood brings specific risks for seniors. As we age, changes to our body composition and ability to metabolize alcohol mean that alcohol affects older adults more profoundly when they drink. Some evidence even suggests that older drinkers are less aware of these effects, even as they are experiencing them. Unhealthy drinking can lead to other problems over time, such as increased risk of falls, dangerous medication interactions, increased risk of cancer, and, in more severe cases, liver disease and early mortality.”