New Study Links High Alcohol Use With Those in Assisted Living Centers

Assisted living is a concept that became popular in the 1990s. It was designed for individuals who, because of disabilities, are not able to reside on their own, yet don’t need round-the-clock care. Here, there are three times as many women as men in assisted living and over 75 percent have lost a spouse. According to, evidence suggests that 70 percent of these residents are also known drinkers.

The article underscores the fact that there are a host of different opinions when it comes to allowing alcohol in assisted living centers. Drinking policies are essentially determined by each individual center. Some don’t allow drinking at all, while others host a regular happy hour.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh analyzed the observations of 800 caretakers regarding the conduct of residents. Results showed that one out of every three inhabitants engaged in daily drinking, and at least 12 percent overindulged, resulting in bodily injury or negative psychological effects. It was also reported that in the three months prior to the survey, drinking had impacted the health of nearly one in five residents in some fashion.

Lead researcher, Nicholas G. Castle, said that rates of alcohol abuse do not go up with age but rather, a person’s tolerance for alcohol declines as he or she gets older. Because of this, alcohol use can increase the number of slips and falls as well as instances of hypertension, depression, and other serious injuries. Alcohol can also negatively interact with certain medications that the resident might be taking.

Castle, however, is quick to clarify that results do not mean that alcohol should be eradicated from assisted living facilities. Instead, he hopes that the study will simply raise awareness regarding the effects of drinking on the elderly.