People over age 65 react to alcohol differently than younger people. Reasons include reduced liver metabolism, the brain being more sensitive to alcohol, and interactions with prescription and over-the-counter drugs. High blood pressure medication and anti-depressants may not work when mixed with alcohol. It is important for anyone, especially the elderly, to speak with his or her health care provider, or pharmacist, about medication and how it might be affected by alcohol.

Given the same amount of alcohol, compared to younger people, older individuals are more prone to:

  • Coordination problems
  • Impaired judgment
  • Sedation or sleepiness 
  • Increased risk of falls & other injuries

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that people over 65 consume no more than one drink per day. Even though we know that drinking one drink per day may protect the elderly from heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, drinking more than that has a negative effect on the heart and increases the risk for cognitive impairment.

Download a pdf of our feature that ran in the Post & Courier

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Center for Drug & Alcohol Programs
67 President Street
MSC 861
Charleston, SC
(843) 792-2727