Office for the Aging

 
 

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol misuse and abuse among older adults does not need to remain a hidden problem.

According to the National Institute on Aging, drinking problems have historically gone unnoticed in older adults because they can be mistaken for issues related to aging, such as balance.

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Some statistics note that older adults binge drink more often than other age groups. According to this fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while binge drinking is more common among adults aged 18-34 years, binge drinkers aged 65 years and older report binge drinking more often—an average of five to six times a month.

This becomes a serious issue, as according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), older adults are particularly susceptible to health risks from alcohol consumption. Alcohol may worsen or cause certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis, stroke, memory loss, and high blood pressure.

NIH notes that alcohol may have an increased effect on older drinkers due to the following factors:

  • As people grow older they metabolize alcohol more slowly.
  • The amount of water in the body lessens with age.
  • As age increases, tolerance for alcohol decreases.

Alcohol is also dangerous when combined with certain medications, such as pain killers, sleep aids, and antidepressants, so older adults should investigate whether they can drink while taking any medicine.

About the New York State Office for the Aging The mission of the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) is to help older New Yorkers be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs, and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them. Stay connected to the New York State Office for the Aging—download the NYSOFA mobile app for iOS or Android; visit the NYSOFA Facebook page; follow @NYSAGING on Twitter; or visit www.aging.ny.gov.