When we hear about Alcohol Awareness, we often think of alcoholism,
or perhaps driving under the influence or teen drinking. Issues related
to seniors and drinking tend to get short shrift.
But awareness is a pretty broad term, and at Home Instead Senior Care Central Oregon,
we think that it is just as important to be aware of the effects that
any level of alcohol consumption has on different people during
different stages of their lives as it is to be aware of the signs of
alcoholism or the damage that can occur as a result of alcohol abuse.
fact, a study released by the University of San Diego last fall shows
that roughly one out of every three older adults drank more alcohol than
they should according to health guidelines.
This isn’t due to an
epidemic of binge drinking among the nation’s seniors. In fact, chances
are, only a small percentage of these people would be considered problem
It is, in part, because, as we age our ability to
metabolize alcohol decreases. Therefore, so does our recommended
guidelines for alcohol consumption. According to the National Institute
on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the American Geriatrics
Society, people 65 or older are engaged in risky drinking if they
consume more than seven alcoholic drinks per week or more than three
drinks on a single day. It is highly recommended that the
single-occasion drink limit should be no more than two drinks for men
and one drink for women.
That’s assuming that there are no other
factors that would make it unwise for a senior to drink at all. But, in
fact, for many seniors, even consuming very small amounts of alcohol can
have negative effects, such as:
issue becomes more serious for being swept under the rug. According to
the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCAAD), alcohol
dependence among adults 60 and older is one of the fastest growing
health problems facing the country. Yet, the situation remains
underestimated, underidentified, underdiagnosed, and undertreated.
The NCAAD says the reasons for this include:
If you suspect that
a senior in your life is having issues related to alcohol – even if
it’s not necessarily drinking what would normally be classified as too
much, it’s important to intervene right away.
For more information about the health and well-being of seniors, please contact 541-330-6400.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.