Authored by Marcel Gemme Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com
Most older adults enjoy having a glass of wine or beer, and having a drink now and then is common practice without overindulging or binge drinking. However, as older adults know, alcohol affects you differently than it did when you were younger.
Not every older adult is ready to give it up, while others are looking for ways to cut back or need help for alcohol dependence. Either way, there are practical and successful ways to cut back or stop and, more importantly, understand the risks of excessive alcohol use and alcohol addiction.
Tip One—Track Your Drinking Habits and Write Down Reasons for Cutting Back
To gauge how much alcohol is being consumed, it is recommended to track your alcohol consumption. During the first couple weeks, write down what is consumed and how much. In addition, write down your reasons for cutting back or stopping.
Common reasons to cut back or stop include:
- Improving health
- Sleeping better
- Improving relationships with family
- Remaining independent
Writing things down places everything in perspective and helps you stay focused on goals and why you are cutting back or stopping drinking.
Tip Two—Set Goals and Speak to Healthcare Professionals
It is essential to set a goal, whether this is cutting down to one drink a day, every few days, or one drink a week. Or this could be a goal not to drink at all.
Write the goal on a piece of paper where you can see it daily. Having a goal gives you something to work towards, which makes it easier to achieve success.
Setting goals may involve asking for help from a qualified healthcare professional. You may want to speak with health care professionals at the senior living facility or reach out to your doctor for advice.
There are excellent resources and advice to take advantage of, and asking for help makes everything easier.
Tip Three—Remove the Alcohol and Replace it with Something Else
Remove the alcohol from your home or residence. It is much easier to avoid temptations when there is nothing to be tempted by. In place of alcohol, drink more water, juice, soda, or non-alcoholic beer or mocktails.
During this time, you may develop interests that do not revolve around drinking. While removing unhealthy temptations, remember to stay healthy for the fun things in life, such as grandchildren, trips, and holiday celebrations.
Essential Reasons to Cut Back on Alcohol Use
There are many reasons to reduce or stop drinking alcohol, which should be the focus. A healthier approach to alcohol consumption could help you, and here are some of the reasons why:
- If you struggle with diabetes, it helps to keep blood sugar under control.
- Reducing or stopping alcohol use does help to lower blood pressure.
- No alcohol means the liver begins to function correctly.
- You lessen the chances of falling and hurting yourself.
- Reduced or stopping alcohol consumption prevents damage to relationships and friends.
- You can get back to enjoying the things that bring you joy.
Finally, most medicines taken by older adults have severe interactions with alcohol. These can also include over-the-counter medication or even herbal remedies. Older adults are at exceptionally high risk for harmful alcohol-medication interactions.
The Risk of Alcohol Addiction
In 2017, alcohol use steadily increased among individuals aged 60 and older over the past two decades. At that time, the information indicated that roughly 20% of adults aged 60 to 64 and 11% over the age of 65 were binge drinkers.
There is a significant risk for alcohol addiction as aging can lower the body’s tolerance for alcohol. In addition, many seniors struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, and alcohol is used to cope with these problems.
If there is a problem with alcohol abuse, it is critical to reach out for help, and there are excellent resources to help seniors struggling with an alcohol use disorder.
About our author: Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with substance abuse for over 20 years. He started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. With drug and alcohol problems constantly increasing, he utilized his website, Addicted.org, and community outreach to spread awareness. His primary focus is threefold: education, prevention, and rehabilitation.