The Pandemic Caused People 50+ to Drink More. Here’s Why That Can Be a Problem

Happy 60s mature woman drinking wine video calling friend on laptop at home. Smiling old middle aged lady holding glass waving hand talking by online social distance chat meeting sit at kitchen table.A new survey is showing that middle-aged and older Americans made a heavy turn to alcohol during the height of the pandemic. And while the occasional drink might be good for your health, too much alcohol can pose serious health risks.

More than 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80 were questioned in late January when COVID-19 was at its worst and older adults had just become eligible for vaccination.


Roughly 14 percent who drank alcohol said that their consumption increased over the first 10 months of the pandemic. The rate was even higher among those who routinely drank.

Between one third and one-half of regular drinkers who said they drink alcohol to improve their mood, relax, or cope with boredom, stress, or pain increased intake. Finally, drinking also went up among those who said they felt lonely or depressed.

Just how much were people drinking? 23 percent of respondents said they routinely had three or more drinks in a sitting. Routinely having three or more per day, or binge drinking (5 in a sitting) are both considered problematic drinking.

A person’s ability to process alcohol changes with age. An amount that they consumed in the past, for example, may affect them differently now. It could raise the risk for a fall by affecting balance.

Aside from potentially affecting immune and mental health, high levels of alcohol consumption can also impact your heart and liver, to vital organs to survival and quality of life.

The good news is that by scaling back on drinking you might be able to reduce some if its physical effects. Your liver, for example, is a very resilient organ that can repair itself if given the space to do so.


Limiting alcohol and processed food intake can help your liver get back to better health. Eating a nutrient-rich diet, and specific foods like broccoli may offer added protection.

Drinking is not inherently bad, and the occasional drink or two can be good for mental health and encourage relaxation – especially when you’re doing it in the company of some vaccinated friends. But it can be a slippery slope.

Pay attention to how much you’re drinking and find ways to scale it back, if necessary.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.