STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

Aging and Alcohol

Joined: 1/2/2012
Posts: 118
Our neighborhood is not classified as a "retirement community," but it does have a higher than average number of retired couples living among the "still working folks." The community lures the newly retired with a variety of home choices ranging from condos to estate homes and with its proximity to fishing, golf, tennis, culture and great healthcare facilities. It has an active social climate that invites neighbors to participate weekly in both organized and private events. Parties are a regular occurrence and liquor is always plentiful.

During the eleven years that we have been in the community we have witnessed more than our fair share of alcohol related over indulgences. Typically, the poor, unsuspecting victim is someone who is a moderate drinker at best, and far from being the neighborhood drunk.

Having witnessed this unfortunate condition, ranging from personal embarrassment to medical emergencies among my friends and neighbors, I started to think about why this is occurring within my peer group. So I asked myself a simple question - why can't we hold our liquor anymore? A bit of internet research confirmed some initial thoughts about aging and alcohol tolerance including the declining ability of our bodies to metabolize alcohol.

The actual standard recommendation for alcohol consumption put forth by the NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is no more than 3 drinks per day and 7 drinks per week. That recommendation is given for healthy adults over 65 who do not take medication. It is significantly lower than the standard for younger adults, obviously for good reason.

While my personal intake is not near the standard, I have recently noticed a diminished tolerance level. After just two drinks (5 to 6 ounces of wine per serving) I can begin to feel light-headed and slightly disoriented. This does not happen every time I drink, but it has happened and I needed to understand why. When I started to analyze my situation, I realized that I was more likely to feel the effects of alcohol after a physically or emotionally challenging day.

My theory, confirmed by a boat-load of scientist, is that there are many external factors including diet, exercise, and emotional stress that contribute to an occasional tolerance mishap, but none so important as the lack of water.

We are active, enthusiastic about retirement and full of energy. We ride bikes, hike mountains, play tennis, tend gardens and tee off eighteen holes three times a week. All the while expending energy that needs to be restored by healthy food and lots of water. Dehydration has many ill-effects on the body, and most definitely has a strong connection to alcohol tolerance.

A 2012 New York Times article about Boomers and alcohol cited changing body composition and decreased water volume due to lack of muscle, as a cause for quick absorption of alcohol into the system. As we age, muscle is replaced by fat and since most of our water is stored in muscle, it makes since that fast absorption can lead to fast impairment. Some studies suggest that having a glass of water between drinks will increase tolerance.

The more we understand about the effects of alcohol on our bodies, the more likely we are to make informed decisions about our level of consumption and the impairment that it may lead to.

This post is intended for legal adults who drink in proper moderation and should not be construed as encouragement to begin drinking.

If you have a drug or alcohol abuse problem, please seek professional help or contact your local chapter of AA at
Rate this:
Comment by warren

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Informative post, Suzanne. Thank you. I never noticed a tolerance decline, because we cut back from little to less when I started certain meds.
Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 2:46:31 PM
Rate this:
Comment by linda.l.anderson

Joined: 2/21/2013
Posts: 4
Interesting post Suzanne. I've started to notice the same thing about myself! On one hand, it's too bad that I now have to be cautious about something I've worked hard at my whole life... :) on the other hand, I suppose you could say since it takes less to catch a buzz, that I'm saving money now!

Thanks for the heads up when you commented on my post DIY CPR. I'd entered the wrong URL for my blog. It's fixed now!
Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2013 5:55:13 PM
Rate this:

Baby Boomers (and older!) blog on StageofLife.comAbout Us is a blogging community for "Empty Nesters" and those in (or near) retirement to share stories about the adventure of life in an online journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Read the blogs and stories from Baby Boomers (and older), or check out the writing contest for Baby Boomers, quotes about retirement, etiquette advice, videos about retirement, discounts for retirement, and other resources for those in the Empty Nest and Retirement stage of life.  Register to start your free profile, share an essay about your life experiences, and pass along your wisdom to help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a college professor, teacher or educator - review our literacy, blogging and writing resources.

Stage of Life Writing Contests

writing contests

Enter National Writing ContestWriting Contests

From 2010 to 2016, ran a monthly, multi-generational writing contest.  With over 3,000,000 visitors and tens of thousands of participating students, teachers, parents, and bloggers involved over half a decade, grew into the world's largest multi-generational writing community. writing contestsWhere is the Writing Contest Now?  As grew into a global writing destination, the coordination of managing an international writing contest became too time intensive for the website's owners.  So starting on Sept. 4, 2016, unfortunately had to end the writing contest portion of its services. 

However, we are now actively looking for new owners of who may want to carry on the mission of helping to change the world, one story at a time.  If you know someone who may be interested in taking to the next level, we can share details around the opportunity.  Please send an email to our owners if there's interest to acquire the website.

But in the meantime, there's still plenty to see and do here - just check out the various links and menus on the page.

Past Annual Writing Contest Results:  While the energy and time to carry on the writing contest has come to a close, you can see summary reports and the winners from the monthly contests on our Writing Contest Winners page.  Tens of thousands of people have submitted essays over the last six years.  Our editorial team has been extremely grateful for all of the wonderful essays shared over the years - words and stories that have helped us change the world, one story at a time.

Sincerely, owners Eric & Rebecca Thiegs and Joe & Lisa Thiegs

Bragging rights, international recognition, and gift card prizes were part of the fun for participants of the free writing contests on

Mentions for the Stage of Life teen writing contests, teen trend reports, etiquette Q&A, and teacher resources by...

Our writing contests mentioned by
Our Teen Trend Report mentioned by MarketWatch Our etiquette resources mentioned by FOX Business Educator tips mentioned by Mashable


Each month over half a decade, Stage of Life hosted and judged writing contests for both students and adults.  We thank the below brands - our educational sponsors - who supplied gift cards as prizes for the winning essays as we helped the change the world through blogging, storytelling, and our literacy-based initiatives...

 Writing contest sponsor  Writing contest sponsor on  Blogging contest prize sponsor Spa & Wellness gift cards by SpaWeek writing contestsWhat made our writing contests different?

  • Stage of Life writing contests were always free to enter
  • Essays from our blogging and writing contests have been picked up by the media, e.g., and used by teachers as mentor texts across the globe
  • We wanted to hear your personal, authentic thoughts on real world topics each month.  We picked writing prompts for which your answers and wisdom may help our readers
  • We awarded the winners with real prizes (cash and/or gift cards) from our site sponsors
  • By entering the Stage of Life writing contests each month, writers were supporting our free educational literacy initiatives and their words reached hundreds of thousands of viewers who visited

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy