As people age, they naturally become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. Older adults are not able to absorb alcohol at the rate they once did which causes the alcohol to stay in their bodies longer. An older adult drinking the same amount as a younger adult will have a higher percentage of alcohol in their body. (3) The combination of these effects lowers the body’s tolerance for alcohol.
Why is it important?
An older adult can develop alcohol-related problems even when drinking habits remained the same (3)
Heavy drinking can damage the liver, heart, brain, muscle and bone
Heavy drinking can increase risk of cancers and immune disorders (3)
Drinking can make existing health conditions worse: diabetes, memory problems, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, mood disorders and osteoporosis (3)
Major life changes (e.g. death of a loved one, moving to a new home, failing health, poverty) can cause loneliness, boredom, anxiety, or depression (2)
Older adults faced with large amounts of free time after retirement may turn to alcohol (4)