Drinking Alcohol by Elderly Associated with Lower Mortality

Older men consuming up to about three drinks per day and older women consuming over one drink per day had a dramatically lower risk of dying than did non-drinkers or abstainers. Even among those who consumed less, their risk of mortality dropped about 20-30% lower than that of non-drinkers.

This large prospective study of men age 60-79 and women age 70-75 was conducted among healthy community-dwelling Australians. The results suggest that the current recommended drinking guidelines in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. are appropriate for older persons as well as for the general population and can help them live longer.

Note: This website makes no suggestions or recommendations regarding the consumption of alcohol to improve health or increase longevity, or about any other health matters, and none should be inferred.


  • McCaul KA, Almeida OP, Hankey GJ, Jamrozik K, Byles JE, Flicker L. Alcohol use and mortality in older men and women. Addiction, 2010. On-line prior to publication: doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02972.x

Readings on Drinking Alcohol and Longevity among Elderly

  • Adams, W. L., et al. (1999). Alcohol intake in the healthy elderly: Changes with age in a cross-sectional and longitudinal study. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 38, 211–216.
  • Bjork, C., et al. (2006). Alcohol consumption by middle-aged and elderly Danes from 1987 to 2003. Ugeskrift for Laeger, 168, 3317-3321.
  • Cervilla, J. A., et al. (2000). Long-term predictors of cognitive outcome in a cohort of older people with hypertension. British Journal of Psychiatry, 177, 66–71.
  • Djousse, L., et al. (2007). Alcohol consumption and type 2 diabetes among older adults: The cardiovascular health study. Obesity, 15, 1758-1765.
  • Fink, A., et al. (2005). An evaluation of an intervention to assist primary care physicians in screening and educating older patients who use alcohol. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53, 1937–1943.
  • Galanis, D. J., et al. (2000). A longitudinal study of drinking and cognitive performance in elderly Japanese American men: The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. American Journal of Public Health, 90, 1254–1259.
  • Kim, S., et al. (2007). Prevalence of smoking and drinking among older adults in seven urban cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Substance Use and Misuse, 42, 1455-1475.
  • Moos, R. H., et al. (2005). Older adults' health and changes in late-life drinking patterns. Aging and Mental Health, 9, 49–59.
  • Onder, G., et al. (2002). Moderate alcohol consumption and adverse drug reactions among older adults. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 11, 385–392.
  • Rapuri, P. B., et al. (2000). Alcohol intake and bone metabolism in elderly women. American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 72, 1206–1213.
  • Simons, L. A., et al. (2006). Lifestyle factors and risk of dementia: Dubbo study of the elderly. Medical Journal of Australia, 184, 68-70.
  • Valmidrid, C. T., et al. (1999). Alcohol intake and the risk of coronary heart disease mortality in persons with older-onset diabetes mellitus. Journal of the American Medical Association, 282(3), 239-246.
  • Wang, L. et al. (2002). Predictors of functional change: a longitudinal study of nondemented people aged 65 and older. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 50(9), 1525-1534.

Filed Under: Longevity | Aging