For many of us, drinking alcohol is a part of life. We might have a glass of wine with dinner or a bit of whiskey as the day ends. This kind of relationship with alcohol works fine for some adults.

However, alcohol affects older adults differently than it affects people of other age groups. If you haven’t yet, Alcohol Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to assess whether your relationship with alcohol aligns with your broader health goals. Keep reading to get the information you need to make that assessment.

The Effects of Drinking Alcohol Over a Long Period of Time

Drinking alcohol in moderation isn’t inherently bad. However, consuming large quantities of alcohol for a sustained period of time can lead to serious health issues. Some health issues include:

  • Liver damage, immune system disorders, and brain damage
  • Several types of cancer
  • Worsen health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and memory loss
  • Make other medical problems harder for doctors to find and treat

These are serious health conditions that shouldn’t be ignored. If you’ve been consuming large quantities of alcohol for a sustained amount of time, now is the perfect time to reconsider that habit.

How Alcohol Affects Older Adults

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Older adults are susceptible to the health effects of alcohol covered in the previous section. However, alcohol can also affect them in ways that don’t apply to other age groups.

For example, studies have shown that alcohol can affect older adults in more serious ways than it affects younger adults. This makes accidents like falls, fractures, and even car crashes more likely in older adults who drink.

Older adults have thinner bones than younger people do, so even the simplest fall could cause a fracture or break. Studies have shown that the rate of hip fractures in older adults increases with alcohol usage.

Additionally, alcohol can strain relationships with family members, friends, and others. It’s associated with 30% of suicides, 40% of crashes and burns, and 60% of falls.

Given all of these statistics, it’s worth asking yourself whether the amount of alcohol that you consume is healthy for you. There’s certainly a chance that there’s nothing wrong with your consumption habits. However, for the sake of Alcohol Usage Awareness Month, it’s worth considering whether your habits need to shift.

Medicare and Alcohol Usage

If you’re ready to change your alcohol consumption habits, your Medicare health insurance may be able to help you do it. Medicare can cover alcohol misuse screening and even counseling for older adults who need it.

Treating alcohol misuse is best done under the supervision of a trained physician. If you’re interested in pursuing that treatment, consider reaching out to one of Time for 65’s partnered licensed agents. They can tell you more about your Medicare coverage options and how they can help you change your drinking habits.

Getting connected with an agent is easy. You can do so by filling out this form or giving us a call. We hope to hear from you soon to get started.