Should Senior Living Communities Serve Alcohol?

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When it comes to alcohol and senior living, there are mixed feelings. Drinking alcohol is often a staple at senior living social functions and many residents enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a nightcap with good friends before calling it a day. However, with age often comes an increase in prescription medications that don’t mix well with alcohol and some families are concerned about alcoholism and how that can affect seniors.

Alcohol Consumption and Health

As with many things, when it comes to alcohol consumption, moderation is crucial. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.”

When alcohol is consumed in excess, it can have a negative impact on health and that drinking too much over a period of time can have long-lasting negative effects on physical and mental health. Negative effects of alcohol consumption include:

  • Damage to the heart that can lead to an irregular heartbeat
  • Increased potential of a stroke
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure
  • Damage to the liver
  • Damage to the pancreas preventing proper digestion
  • An increased likelihood to develop various cancers
  • Damage to the immune system leading to pneumonia and tuberculosis

While the effects of too much alcohol are well studied and proven, studies also suggest that the moderate consumption of alcohol may lead to these health benefits:

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  • A lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • An increase in longevity by as much as 18%
  • A potential reduction in the risk of catching a cold by 60%
  • A decrease in the risk of dementia by 23%
  • A reduction in the risk of developing gallstones by 33%
  • A decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes

It is important to note that many of these health benefits disappear when alcohol consumption goes beyond moderation. Also, these health benefits do not apply when mixing alcohol with certain types of medication. We encourage each senior to meet with their medical care team and discuss their own personal approach to alcohol.

Promoting Positive and Healthy Habits

We recognize the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption and we also recognize the dangers of overindulgence. Every day at Leisure Care, we celebrate seniors. We celebrate our residents. We celebrate retirement. We celebrate life. And, sometimes those celebrations include alcohol. Our residents are grown adults and we treat them as such. While we acknowledge that drinking alcohol may not be medically appropriate for some residents, and we monitor that accordingly, we do not restrict drinking among the general resident population.

We are known for promoting independence and for being a fun place to call home. We trust our residents and their care team to make educated decisions about what to eat and drink, while also promoting independence and fun. Come and see what senior living at Leisure Care is like. Stop by for a Friday afternoon happy hour. The first round is on us.


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About the author

Alissa has been working in marketing and the senior living industry for over 8 years. With a B.S. in advertising from the University of Illinois, Alissa has worked all over the world as a freelance communications strategist and writer. Published in Forbes, Senior Finance Advisor, and on other leading senior care blogs, she leverages her working knowledge of the senior care industry with leading research and best practices to create engaging content benefitting seniors and their caregivers. In her free time, Alissa loves to travel, read, cook, and spend time with her family.

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