Heath and Aging

Older Adults and Alcohol: You Can Get Help

There is help

Image of substance abuse counselor talking to a manIf you think you have a drinking problem, here are some things you can do:

  • Find a support group for older adults with alcohol problems.
  • Talk to a healthcare professional like your doctor.
  • Ask about medicines that might help.
  • Visit a trained counselor who knows about alcohol problems and how they affect older adults.
  • Choose individual, group, or family therapy, depending on what works for you.
  • Join a 12-step program such as AA, which is short for Alcoholics Anonymous. AA groups offer support and have programs for people who want to quit drinking.

Check off the tips you will try to help you stop drinking:

  • Remove alcohol from your home.
  • Eat food when you are drinking—don’t drink on an empty stomach. When you drink, sip slowly.
  • Say “no thanks” or “I’ll have a something else instead” when offered a drink.
  • Avoid drinking when you are angry or upset or if you've had a bad day.
  • Stay away from people who drink a lot and the places where you used to drink. Plan what you will do if you are tempted to drink.
  • Call your doctor or other healthcare worker, the senior center near you, or your local Area Agency on Aging to find the names of places where you can get help.
  • Reward yourself for not drinking! Use the time and money spent on drinking to do something you enjoy.

Have you been a heavy drinker for years or do you drink often? It is important to talk to your doctor before making a change in your drinking. There may be some side effects from a sudden change. Medicine can help.

 

Publication Date: June 2011
Page Last Updated: March 21, 2014