Poster Presentations

P-2: Alcohol Use in Older Adults: a Review of Drinking Risks and Alcohol Use Disorders to Inform the Development of National Guidelines

Eunice Indome*, Dr. David Conn, Ms. Marilyn White-Campbell

University of Waterloo

Objective: The drinking habits for the older adults are usually not identified as an underlying problem when they report to care facilities with other health conditions. Early intervention and appropriate drinking guidelines are needed for the elderly. This literature review was conducted to inform the development of national low-risk drinking guidelines (LRDG) for older adults in Canada. 

Method: The review involved a detailed literature search, which yielded a combined total of 180 peer-reviewed articles and grey literature from databases such as Ovid, psycINFO, scholars portal and Google scholar. 72 articles met the search inclusion criteria appropriate for this literature review, which was not limited only to Canada, and had no restriction on year of article publication.Results: Three areas were identified as necessary for the creation of LRDG for older adults. First, the LRDG should consider the worsening effects of AUD on older adults with concurrent psychiatric conditions, drug and other substance use, medications, and weakened physiology. Second, screening allows LRDG to be an early intervention measure. In follow-up to screening, clinical management (detoxification), and treatment options were key to informing LRDG. Third, the current LRDG standard drink limits were found to be too high for older adults, especially when concurrent disorders were present, coupled with age-related health conditions.

Conclusions: Current efforts are not sufficient to address AUD in older adults. Canada should consider standard drink labelling and set lower standard drinking limits, similar to the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Recommendations include senior-specific drinking limits for the LRDG.