Monday, October 2, 2023

Want to Age Gracefully? Try Cutting Back on Alcohol

The process of growing old can be challenging in and of itself. Depending on your age, there are certain things you can’t take part in anymore, for example, certain sports. As you grow older, you have to visit the doctor frequently, which might not be your favorite activity. 

Nobody likes getting old, and we all hope to reach our sunsetting years with some grace and style. However, our drinking habits can have long-term effects on us that we can’t fully grasp at the time. 

The truth is that if you want to age gracefully, cutting back on alcohol consumption might be a good start. Let’s take a look at why.

What Does Alcohol Do to You As You Age?

If you are like the 85% of adults above 18 years of age that have a history of drinking alcohol, it is important to understand what it does to you over time.

Young people hardly see or feel the adverse effects of alcohol on their health and might take drinking for granted. As they age, however, the effects become clearer and some of these effects are lasting. So, what does alcohol do to an aging body? Let’s find out.

  • It Makes You Dehydrated

As you age, your body retains more fat and less water. In addition to this, older people feel thirst less than younger people. This compounds the risk of dehydration in seniors. 

A person’s body loses water when they drink alcohol at any age, but the effect is more pronounced in older people. The reason for this is that their bodies are already dehydrated before drinking alcohol. 

So, alcohol increases your risk of dehydration as you age, and this can be seen in symptoms like dry, rapidly aged skin. While dry aging skin is natural, excessive alcohol intake accelerates the process.

  • It Can Affect Your Vital Organs

Getting older increases your chances of your organs failing, and drinking too much alcohol increases this risk considerably. 

Alcohol consumption leads to liver cirrhosis, which is a complete failure of the liver. As well as affecting the liver, it can cause irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure. 

Alcohol also affects the kidney’s capacity to rid itself of toxins, so excessive drinking is not safe for the kidneys.

  • It Complicates Many Aspects of Your Lifestyle

You are more likely to need medication as you age, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from commercials, it is to not mix medicines with alcohol. Since both groups of chemicals are processed (metabolized) by the liver, most of these medications don’t mix well with alcohol. 

Sleep patterns can also be affected by excessive alcohol consumption as you age. Sleeping patterns of young people are affected by alcohol to a lesser extent than those of seniors, and a lack of sleep can lead to a slew of mental health problems. 

Aging also results in a weakening of bones and joints, known as osteoporosis. It is possible for people with this condition to become worse if they consume excessive amounts of alcohol.

  • How to Cut Back on Alcohol Consumption

The consumption of alcohol can be relatively harmless as you age as long as it is done in moderation. You should not drink more than three drinks at a time and one drink per day in your senior years.

You might develop health complications if you don’t moderate your drinking, which will affect your quality of life.

We all admire older people who are healthy and strong as they age. To achieve this, what can you do to reduce your alcohol consumption?

  • Steps You Have to Take to Cut Back on Alcohol Intake

Write down your thoughts: You should write down why you think you are drinking excessively. In addition, you should write how uncontrolled drinking of alcohol can harm you and your family members. Afterward, document your reasons for controlling it.

Set goals: It is important to set attainable and not vague goals. Consider the recommended alcohol intake for adults when determining your drinking goals. Maybe participate in Dry January

A maximum of one drink is allowed per day for adults over 65, and two drinks per day for adults under 65. People with certain conditions may have to set stricter goals. 

Keep track of your drinking: It is a good idea to keep a journal of your journey to mindful drinking. Keeping a record of the type of drinks you consume, when you consume them, and where you consume them is important. Make sure your goals are being met by periodically reviewing your progress. If you are having trouble doing this, you can try using an alcohol tracker.

Don’t store alcohol in your home: In order to achieve mindful drinking, you must discourage impulsive consumption. It’s much easier to drink when there’s alcohol at home, so try to avoid storing any wine or liquor bottles in the cabinets.

Watch out for peer pressure: If you have drinking buddies, you should reevaluate your interactions with them. You should learn to politely refuse drinks and avoid people who insist on them.

Get support: As part of your recovery journey, developing an accountability system is crucial for gaining control and drinking alcohol mindfully. Most people who are on this journey to healthier alcohol consumption will need alcohol trackers and coaches or partners who will monitor their progress. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You shouldn’t be on this journey alone.

  • Age Gracefully

We live in a world where alcohol is an integral part of social interaction, but in excess, it can adversely affect our lives. It is not uncommon for these effects to become apparent as we age. The more we consume alcohol, the greater the risk to our livers, kidneys, hearts, and brains. In addition, we can ruin the relationships we have with our children, grandchildren, and spouses. 

Drinking less alcohol today can help you enjoy your later years more. 

You won’t be on this journey alone. Sunnyside is here to help you along the way. Support is the only thing we offer when it comes to helping you achieve balance.