Many of us enjoy having a glass of wine or a beer with our dinner or at a social gathering, and most will enjoy them within safe limits and responsibly. But, it is important to remember that as we age, our bodies may become much more sensitive to the effects of alcohol – especially when paired with some medications that treat conditions such as cold symptoms, diabetes and blood pressure, among others.
Here is what you need to know about seniors and alcohol and ensuring that everyone can enjoy their beverages safely.
Why do we become more sensitive to alcohol?
As we age, our bodies can become much more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, which may result in getting that buzz much quicker. There are a few reasons this happens.
Changes in organs
The kidneys and the liver are responsible for removing alcohol from the body. As we age, certain conditions may affect how these organs work, which can slow down the elimination of alcohol.
Typically, seniors have less water in their bodies than younger adults do. This means alcohol will be much less diluted, and therefore the effects are more potent on the drinker.
Lower muscle mass
As we age, our muscle mass tends to decrease. Muscles tend to contain more water than fat, so the alcohol becomes more diluted. Conversely, a decrease in muscle mass will make the effects of alcohol more prominent.
Sometimes our senses – like hearing and vision – and even our reflexes will change as we age, so drinking alcohol may make those changes that much more noticeable. A senior may experience effects of alcohol after just one drink, while it may take a younger person two or three drinks to experience similar effects.
Medications and alcohol
As we age, we tend to succumb to different health conditions, which often result in more prescription medications that we have to take. Some of these medications have strict guidelines on whether you may drink while using them. Alcohol may have negative interactions or pose a special risk with certain medications, so it is really important to follow any warnings or advice that your doctor or pharmacist provides when you get the prescription. If you have questions about certain medications, reach out to your doctor or pharmacist before consuming any kind of alcohol – just to be safe.
If you or a senior loved one have conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, in particular, your doctor may suggest that you refrain from or limit your alcohol intake.
Some people may have difficulty controlling the amount of alcohol they consume. No matter how old someone is or what medical conditions they have, it is really important that everyone enjoys their drinks in a safe and responsible manner. If you believe someone is abusing alcohol, you can contact your healthcare provider for help and professional advice.
Contact VERA Home Care
If you have a senior loved one in your life who could use a little extra help in their day-to-day activities – or who could simply benefit from a trusted companion, home care can be a great solution.
Contact us today to learn more!