Some people compare alcohol to medicine, since it has positive effects in small doses, but becomes lethal in larger quantities. However, the rules of alcohol consumption change when people get older. For instance, the aging body is less tolerant towards harmful toxins, thus drinking the same amount will pack a bigger punch. In other cases the effect is the exact opposite: some elderly take a sip from the bottle just to soothe their nerves before sleeping. But our system quickly adjusts itself to the smaller doses, and seniors find themselves taking bigger and bigger swigs, until they need the full bottle just to get through the afternoon. Alcohol consumption during the golden years must be taken seriously. If it’s left unchecked, it leads to devastating consequences, shortening their lifespan and ruining the relationship with their family or friends.
How Much Is Ok?
In spite of everyone having different stamina levels when it comes to drinks, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism created an optimal definition regarding what counts as “Ok”. According to their findings, seniors above 65 shouldn’t have more than seven drinks a week (preferable one each day). In some rare instances it’s allowed to have up to three drinks a day (which may occur during a family birthday or celebration), but the previous rule still applies, so they must practice abstinence for two days so the toxins can work off.
But what measures up to be “one drink”? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defined an exact quantity for each type of alcohol. For example, “one drink” equals a bottle of beer, 12 ounces of ale, 8 ounces of malt liquor, a glass of wine, or a shot of hard liquor (whiskey, vodka, etc.).
The Shocking Reality of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse should not be taken lightly in any age, but it’s an even direr problem among elderly. According to the NCADD (National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) statistics, there are more than 2.5 million elderly who suffer from drinking problems. It’s also on par with heart attacks as a leading cause for hospitalizing elderly. The numbers are the highest among nursing home patients and widowed seniors. Besides slowly killing the body and mind, substance abuse has even more severe consequences when mixed with medicine. Drinking with an aspirin might lead to stomach or intestinal bleeding. Cold and allergy pills cause serious sleepiness when combined with alcohol, but the most dangerous combo is still alcohol and painkillers/sleeping pills, which are infamous for causing death.
The Art of Putting Down The Glass
The urge of having just another glass of wine or bottle of beer is hard to resist, even if the person isn’t under the influence of alcohol. Deciding to just stop and turn teetotaler demands an immense amount of willpower, and many crush after the drawback effects appear, forcing the senior to dive even deeper into the abyss of substance abuse. It makes more sense to gradually lower the consumed quantity, under the gentle support of family members and other loved ones. Battling alcohol isn’t easy, and it puts serious stress on an aging body, so the relatives should keep an eye on their beloved elderly, or buy them a medical alert system that is capable of summoning help immediately. Another good idea is to set up a medication dispenser to avoid mixing up the pills, or taking the wrong quantity.
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