Alcohol has a greater impact on elderly people

Elderly people may also engage in moderate alcohol consumption, as long as they pay attention to the additional risks brought by age.

If you want to take care of your health, you should consider your alcohol consumption, as the effects of alcohol increase with age. The body becomes drier, which means that alcohol has a more powerful impact. There is a decline in kidney function, and the liver has less capacity to break down substances. When combined with medication, even a very small amount of alcohol can have unfortunate consequences.

For over-65s, the risk limits for alcohol consumption are a maximum of two units at a time and seven units per week. One unit of alcohol corresponds to, for example, one 0.33-litre bottle of medium-strength beer, cider or long drink. Another good rule of thumb is that you should have at least one alcohol-free day per week.

Check your medication’s compatibility with alcohol

Some medicines cause undesirable effects when combined with alcohol. These may include insomnia, dizziness, memory disorders, and even liver damage. If you are concerned about drinking alcohol with your medication, don’t be afraid to ask – you can always consult your doctor or pharmacist. The package leaflet will also contain the necessary warnings, although elderly people may find that these are printed in overly small type. It’s a good idea for relatives to know where an elderly person’s medication and its documentation are kept.

Tools for monitoring your alcohol consumption

The Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention (EHYT ry) has published an info packet for over-55s called Tiesitkö tämän lääkkeistä ja alkoholista? (Did you know this about medication and alcohol?)  It contains information about the most common medicines that should not be taken with alcohol (available only in Finnish). You can find information on different meters to test your alcohol consumption in Addictionlink.fi. These meters both give feedback on alcohol consumption and provide guidance on how to reduce your consumption.