Age Well Drink Wiser

Age well drink wiser logo and older couple drinking white wine.

Alcohol and its effects on older people

Alcohol is broken down more slowly in the body as we age. The same amount of alcohol tends to have a greater effect on older people and can affect you more than it did when you were younger.

Effects of alcohol:

  • Loss of balance
  • Being less alert
  • Slower reaction times
  • Blurry vision.

These symptoms can lead to falls, injuries, car  crashes, and other kinds of accidents.​

Alcohol and medicine

Drinking alcohol can cause problems if you’re taking certain medicines. Some medicines become stronger or weaker, or their side-effects are worse. A medicine label that says ‘Not to be taken with alcohol’ means you should not drink any alcohol the whole time you’re on that medicine. Always check the label and ask your pharmacist or doctor if you can safely drink alcohol.​​

Alcohol and your health problems

As we age, we’re more likely to have health problems that can be made worse by drinking alcohol. It can also cause new health problems. Drinking above the recommended units can increase or make existing conditions worse such as:

  • High blood sugar (diabetes)
  • High blood pressure
  • Some cancers, breast, mouth, throat, liver and bowel
  • Memory loss and dementia
  • Liver problems
  • Stomach problems (ulcers)
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Weak bones (osteoporosis)
  • Depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.​

Cutting down & getting help

Many people cut down on, or stop, drinking alcohol as they get older but some people continue to drink heavily or drink more alcohol than they used to. Reasons can include:

  • Habits and a drinking lifestyle
  • Coping with loneliness
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Relationship problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • More free time
  • Trauma or pain.

If you think any of the above reasons apply to you and your drinking habits. Talk to your GP or call Aspire, Drug and Alcohol Services on 03000 213900.​