There’s nothing better than enjoying a few drinks with friends. As we hit retirement, that pastime can become more and more frequent. For many, drinking more alcoholic beverages is simply a natural part of the aging process. After all, socializing is a very popular activity for seniors.
But, there are some risks to drinking in middle age. At a time when an older adult needs to be doing things to improve their health, drinking alcohol can have some serious side effects. Here are some important risks that every senior needs to know about before cracking open another bottle of wine.
Alcohol Affects Memory
Seniors are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, especially when it comes to their memory. In a long-term study conducted by researchers from the University of Essex in England, it was discovered that middle aged people between the ages of 51 and 61 who self-identified as having drinking problems had a higher risk of suffering dementia later in life.
In the study, test subjects were asked a series of four simple questions compiled by the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:
1. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
3. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
4. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
After the questionnaires were completed and recorded, the participants were given a series of standard memory tests that would be repeated at certain intervals over the course of the study. Over time, the test scores were found to decline across the entire group, but those that had reported unhealthy drinking habits on the questionnaires showed the most significant decrease in memory function.
Alcohol and Medicines
Even the healthiest senior usually takes some type of medication. Most take a few different medications, both prescribed and over the counter. Drinking alcohol can cause a good number of medications to stop working and in some cases, even react negatively with certain drugs.
An example of this risk is when a senior takes a medication that can cause drowsiness. Combining that medication with alcohol can lead to increased sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, and a lack of coordination that could result in an accident. Combining alcohol and medications can also cause nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, and a host of other health problems.
Alcohol and Pre-Existing Health Conditions
Drinking alcohol can not only cause certain health problems, but doing so can also worsen pre-existing conditions. For instance, if a senior has problems with his or her liver, then drinking alcohol can be a severe detriment.
Drinking alcohol can also increase one’s risk of developing certain cancers, diabetes, muscle and bone problems, immune system disorders, depression, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure.
Visit the Davis Community for Healthy Senior Living in Wilmington NC
If you are looking for senior living in Wilmington NC for yourself or an aging loved one, then call the Davis Community today at 910-686-7195 or simply complete and submit our online information request form. We offer a fun and supportive environment that’s conducive to improving one’s health and wellness. Get to know the difference today – visit the Davis Community!