Alcohol Abuse Among The Elderly

When you read about alcohol abuse you may think of college campuses and spring break, but there’s another demographic that is seriously affected by alcoholism- the elderly. Surprisingly, widowers over the age of 75 have the highest rate of alcoholism in the United States. While a study by the American Medical Association states that over the past 10 years drinking has increased in every age group, those over the age of 65 had the greatest risk of any age group. One contributor may be that people in their 60’s and early 70’s are less frail than in previous generations – so they continue their drinking patterns. Moreover, baby boomers have been exposed to, and are less disapproving of drug and alcohol use.

Alcohol can affect the elderly differently:

  • Increased sensitivity -The elderly may not realize they have an increased sensitivity to alcohol. Typically as we age our tolerance for alcohol decreases as our metabolism slows down.
  • Contributes to 60% of falls – Because seniors often lose their dexterity and flexibility they may have balance problems that are made worse after a few drinks.
  • Can make existing health problems worse.
  • Reactions to medications

Several situations that may lead to excessive drinking in older individuals include:

  • Empty nest syndrome (when children grow up and move away)
  • Loss of friendships due to moves, health complications or death
  • Deteriorating health conditions (cardiovascular disease, vision/hearing loss, and diabetes)
  • Traumatic events like a spouse’s illness or death
  • Sadness after downsizing a home
  • Boredom from retirement or lack of socialization

It’s never too late to seek assistance if you think you might have a problem. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your alcohol use, or if those around you have expressed concerns.

If you or a loved one are looking for quality home care services, the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Home Health Aides (HHAs) referred by Granny NANNIES are trained to provide special care required and can do so in the privacy and comfort of home. CNAs and HHAs assist in routine, daily activities, such as personal care as well as with monitoring cognitive risk factors.

Granny NANNIES was established in 1990 to provide seniors with in-home care. Operating under the founding premise that reliable and affordable senior home care should be available to everyone; Granny NANNIES offers personalized services to meet the requirements of any individual, regardless of age or need, in their home. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we refer quality and trustworthy in-home care for you and your loved ones. For more information on how we can help you, call 800-316-2669 or visit our website at