Aging and Alcohol: How Alcohol Can Affect Your Senior Parent’s Safety-CORONA/ RIVERSIDE

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Aging and Alcohol: How Alcohol Can Affect Your Senior Parent’s Safety-CORONA/ RIVERSIDE



Does your senior parent drink alcohol? How the body processes and responds to alcohol can change with age. Aging slows the body’s ability to break down alcohol, so alcohol remains in a person’s system longer. If your senior parent has the same drinking patterns as they did when they were younger, their drinking habits may be negatively impacting their judgment, coordination, health, and reaction time, which can lead to dangerous or even deadly situations.

“In older adults, too much alcohol can lead to balance problems and falls, which can result in hip or arm fractures and other injuries,” according to the National Institute on Aging. “Older people have thinner bones than younger people, so their bones break more easily. Studies show that the rate of hip fractures in older adults increases with alcohol use.”

According to the National Institute on Aging, drinking too much alcohol over a long time can:

  • Lead to some kinds of cancer, liver damage, immune system disorders, and brain damage.
  • Worsen some health conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, ulcers, memory loss, and mood disorders.
  • Make some medical problems hard for doctors to find and treat – for example, alcohol causes changes in the heart and blood vessels. These changes can dull pain that might be a warning sign of a heart attack.
  • Cause some older people to be forgetful and confused – these symptoms could be mistaken for signs of Alzheimer's disease.

Combining alcohol with medications is also dangerous for your senior parent. Mixing alcohol with certain medications can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination. It can also put your senior parent at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulties in breathing. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, problems that can occur from mixing alcohol with certain medications include:

  • Allergies, cold, or flu medicines: Drowsiness, dizziness, and increased risk for overdose
  • Angina (chest pain) or coronary heart disease medicines: Rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting
  • Anxiety and epilepsy medicines: Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk for overdose, slowed or difficulty breathing, impaired motor control, unusual behavior, memory problems, and liver damage
  • Arthritis medicines: Ulcers, stomach bleeding, and liver damage
  • Blood clot medicines: Internal bleeding, blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks
  • Cough medicines: Drowsiness, dizziness, and increased risk for overdose
  • Depression medicines: Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk for overdose, increased feelings of depression or hopelessness, impaired motor control, and liver damage
  • Diabetes medicines: Abnormally low blood sugar levels, flushing reaction (nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure), and symptoms of nausea and weakness
  • Enlarged prostate medicines: Dizziness, light headedness, and fainting
  • Heartburn, indigestion, or sour stomach medicines: Rapid heartbeat, increased alcohol effect, and sudden changes in blood pressure
  • High blood pressure medicines: Dizziness, fainting, drowsiness, and heart problems such as changes in the heart’s regular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • High cholesterol medicines: Liver damage, increased flushing and itching, and increased stomach bleeding
  • Infection control medicines: Fast heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure, stomach pain, upset stomach, vomiting, headache, flushing or redness of the face, and liver damage
  • Muscle pain medicines: Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk of seizures, increased risk for overdose, slowed or difficulty breathing, impaired motor control, unusual behavior, and memory problems
  • Nausea or motion sickness medicines: Drowsiness, dizziness, and increased risk for overdose
  • Pain (such as muscle ache, minor arthritis pain), fever, or inflammation medicines: Upset stomach, bleeding and ulcers, liver damage, and rapid heartbeat
  • Severe pain from injury, postsurgical care, oral surgery, or migraine medicines: Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk for overdose, slowed or difficulty breathing, impaired motor control, unusual behavior, and memory problems
  • Sleep problem medicines: Drowsiness, sleepiness, dizziness, slowed or difficulty breathing, impaired motor control, unusual behavior, and memory problems

If you fear that your senior parent may feel lonely or isolated, is at greater fall risk, or is at risk for dangerous medication side effects, call their doctor and call SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. SYNERGY HomeCare’s in-home caregivers provide compassionate companionship, provide medication management, and work to ensure that your parent lives in a safe home. Providing your parent with in-home care can help promote your senior parent’s independence and prevent social isolation. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers help your senior parent combat the loneliness that is often caused by social isolation. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills caregivers can:

  • Provide friendly and supportive conversation. Seniors often long to reminisce – to relive happy memories, affirm who they are, or gain insights about their life. When your senior parent longs to reminisce about life experiences, favorite personal stories, or grandchildren, an in-home caregiver can be there as a friendly and attentive listener.  
  • Plan engaging activities. Staying active and maintaining a level of independence are important for the health and happiness of your senior parent. Our in-home caregivers, who are here to make the best of every moment for your family member or loved one, help plan visits with family and friends, play dates with children, trips to the zoo, shopping sprees, crafts and scrapbooking, or even help scheduling vacations. 
  • Encourage light exercise. We all know that exercise is a key to good health, but it may especially be true for seniors. By participating in activities seniors enjoy, they can gain greater mobility, quality of life, and independence. Nevertheless, they still may need a little motivation. Our in-home caregivers can accompany your family member on walks and encourage regular light exercise. 
  • Encourage active thinking. As part of our companion services for seniors, our in-home caregivers can help structure pastimes, hobbies, and games to keep your senior parent interactive, engaged, and stimulated.

SYNERGY HomeCare’s in-home caregivers can also help your senior parent manage their medications and help them:

  • Take medication as prescribed, encouraging your senior parent to take their medicine regularly and according to their health care provider’s instructions.
  • Keep a medication list, helping your senior parent keep track of their medication by writing a list and ensuring that the list is up-to-date.
  • Be aware of potential drug interactions and side effects, helping your senior parent read the drug facts labels on over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications.

If you’re unable to regularly check in on your aging parent, and you fear that your senior parent is at-risk for a fall injury in their own home due to alcohol use, medication side effects, clutter, or frailness, call SYNERGY Homecare Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. Our in-home caregivers can help reduce your senior parent’s fall risk by ensuring that your aging parent lives in a safe home environment. SYNERGY Homecare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers can assist your senior parent with cleaning, organizing, and de-cluttering their home. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers can also help your senior parent stay independent and reduce the risk of falling by encouraging light exercise, helping them connect with their doctor to review their medications, and assisting them with the coordination of installing shower and bathtub grab bars and stairway railings. Additionally, SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers can help your parent bathe and shower safely and provide full assistance with restroom use, all with utmost respect, professionalism, and sensitivity to privacy. Call SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills to help your senior parent avoid the risks of loneliness and isolation and reduce the side effects of combining alcohol and medications.

About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age.  Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more.  Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected] .

Gabriel Irvin

Gabby Irvin received her master’s degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She enjoys writing weekly blog posts for Synergy HomeCare, as it allows her to blend her passion for writing and interest in health care. She is currently pursuing a degree in nursing.

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