Raising Awareness of Alcoholism Among Seniors
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, so we’re talking about the issues surrounding seniors and alcohol abuse. As a leading CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey, we’re dedicated to a high quality of resident life that includes bringing awareness about this concerning issue.
Alcoholism in seniors is easily overlooked
According to the National Institute on Aging, although alcoholism is an issue in every age group, it is commonly overlooked by family members, friends and even caregivers when it affects seniors. In fact, statistics show that around 40% of seniors age 65 and older drink alcohol. Although seniors are legally entitled to drink, it’s important to know that our bodies process alcohol very differently as we age, increasing the effect on our balance, motor and bodily functions. This means that seniors feel the effects of an alcoholic drink far more rapidly and severely than they experienced at a younger age. This can be further exacerbated by conflicts with medications as well as health problems, especially diseases that affect the liver.
Risks of alcohol abuse in seniors
Seniors with alcohol abuse issues face increased health and wellness risks, including:
- An increased risk of falls – Leading to broken bones, severe bruising, emergency hospital treatment and increased frailty.
- Increased risk of accidents – This includes car and other accidents caused by increased confusion, poor reaction times and other sobriety issues.
- Worsening medical conditions – Certain medical conditions are negatively affected by alcohol, including diabetes, osteoporosis, mood disorders, high blood pressure, liver problems, congestive heart failure, and memory problems.
- Dangerous interactions with medication – Including aspirin; sleeping pills; cough syrup; and pain, anti-anxiety, anti-depression and allergy medications.
How much alcohol is too much?
Everyone has a different reaction to alcohol, but the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that adults over 65 who do not take medications have no more than seven drinks per week.
Signs that your loved one may be suffering from alcohol abuse or alcoholism include:
- Drinking to cope with concerns or to feel better.
- Losing interest in food, but drinking very quickly.
- Trying to hide drinking habits, or lying about how much they have consumed.
- Negative mood changes when away from alcohol.
- Increased conflicts, mood changes or physical confrontations when drinking.
If you suspect that you or your loved one is drinking too much, don’t hesitate to talk to a professional and join a senior treatment program.
Get the best out of your golden years with independent senior living in Sussex County, New Jersey
Bristol Glen is an independent senior living community based in Sussex County. As part of United Methodist Communities, we’re dedicated to providing seniors with comfortable, serviced living arrangements that free up your time to enjoy life. Founded on a philosophy of aging-in-place, our residents enjoy a less restrictive care model and do not have to move from their residential apartments to access additional services as their needs change.