Study Suggests High Rate of Drinking in Assisted Living Facilities
The rate of drinking among residents in assisted living facilities is high, according to a new study published in Research on Aging, titled Alcohol Misuse and Abuse Reported by Nurse Aides in Assisted Living. Researchers asked more than 800 nursing aides in facilities about behaviors they had observed, or had evidence of, among residents they cared for. Their responses suggest nearly 70 percent of assisted living residents drank alcohol. More than one-third of residents drank daily, and 12 percent had abused alcohol—defined as drinking enough to cause physical or psychosocial harm—in the previous three months. The study also found almost 20 percent of residents had experienced an apparent influence on their health from drinking in the past three months.
While alcohol misuse or abuse does not appear to increase with age, drinking may have more harmful effects for people in their 80s, the article notes. As their tolerance for alcohol declines, drinking can lead to more falls, high blood pressure, depression, and other illnesses and accidents. Many residents of assisted living facilities also take multiple medications, which can interact with alcohol, said lead researcher Nicholas G. Castle of the University of Pittsburgh.