Addictions & Mental Health

Algoma Public Health

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Older Adults & Alcohol


The Older Adult and Alcohol


Alcohol in any form - beer, wine or spirits - is a drug. It acts on the nervous system and it can make a person feel more relaxed, talkative, sleepy or uncoordinated. It reduces alertness, judgement and reaction time. Although older adults generally drink less alcohol than younger adults, they are much more sensitive to its effects. This is because their blood circulation, kidney, and liver work more slowly to eliminate alcohol and their bodies and less water in their bodies, are much more sensitive to alcohol's effects. Some things mix but drinking and drugs don't. Drinking any alcohol while you are taking medications can result in the medication not working properly. Confusion, unsteadiness or falls, poor memory, dizziness or feeling irritable could be noticed. Interactions between alcohol and medications can be very serious. You should ask your doctor or pharmacist about any interactions. Some Guidelines for Sensible Drinking Include:


For more information talk to your healthcare provider or contact us.


Adapted from ARF - Addiction Research Foundation. The Older Adult & Alcohol. 1993

Use alcohol wisely - to accompany a special meal; to celebrate a special occasion; to relax in the company of friends and family or to add enjoyment to a social gathering. If you are taking prescribed or over the counter medication, don't drink any alcohol until you have spoken with your pharmacist or your doctor. Mixing alcohol with other drugs can be harmful. Drink no more than 2 standard drinks on any day.


Men: Limit your weekly intake to 14 or fewer standard drinks.

Women: Limit your weekly intake to 9 or fewer standard drinks.

Don't use alcohol to help you sleep, relieve pain or cope with loneliness, stress or uncomfortable feelings.


Date of Creation: June 1, 2015

Last Modified: June 1, 2015