Safe Use of Alcohol

Tips for Older Adults

You may have heard that alcohol can be healthful. This isn’t always true. Age-related changes make older adults more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. In addition, older adults are more likely to be taking at least one medication for a chronic illness. Alcohol can interact with the medical condition or the medication and cause problems.

Sensible Drinking Limits

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that adults 65 and older drink no more than one alcoholic drink a day or a maximum of seven drinks per week. Women should drink less, because their body chemistry makes alcohol more toxic.

One alcoholic drink is:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of liquor (80 proof)

When Not to Drink

Do not drink alcohol if you:

  • Plan to Drive
  • Perform activities requiring attention, such as minding grandchildren or using power tools
  • Take certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs (ask your doctor or health care provider)
  • Have certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Are in recovery from alcohol problems

Source: The above information is taken from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging and The National Council On Aging.