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Health Officials Warn Of Senior Drinking And Injury


Alcohol use is on the rise in Wisconsin adults age 65 and older and a health expert says it places them at greater risk for injuries and death. That analysis from a Wisconsin Department of Health Services report.

The study found 56 percent have had at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days. Nine percent report binge drinking. Six percent report heavy drinking, which is defined as eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men.

Health Services spokesperson Christine Niemuth says older adults drinking alcohol is not the same as younger adults...

"....drinking and binge drinking for all age groups in Wisconsin has been among the highest in the nation. As people age, their bodies don't react or metabolize alcohol as well as they did at younger ages. The same alcohol consumption at age 65 or older that you may have had 10 or 20 years earlier is going to affect your body differently. In addition you're on different medications and having different health issues...."

Niemuth says one particular concern is an increase in serious falls...

"..since 2010, we've seen a 36 percent increase in the number of people who have died from an alcohol-related fatal fall. This ties back to the fact that as you age you might have balance and vision issues and these things are compounded when you consume alcohol. It's an alarming increase...."

Niemuth says help for older adults with alcohol-related issues is available through their local physicians, or at the Aging and Disability Resource Center located in each county.

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