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A toast ‘to your health’ might not be so healthy for LTC seniors

March 1, 2012
by Sandra Hoban, Executive Editor
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Everyone is gearing up for the new, livelier environments that baby boomers will demand in the coming years: entertainment opportunities, fitness facilities, generational music…and social opportunities that include alcohol.

Happy hours are on some assisted living facilities playlist right now. Is this a good idea or an invitation to the next level of care? A study out of the University of Pittsburgh offers preliminary evidence that alcohol abuse can be a problem for some AL residents.

The study conducted by Castle, Wagner, Ferguson, et al, interviewed more than 800 nurse aides working in assisted living on resident alcohol abuse. The aides approximated that nearly 70 percent of residents drank alcoholic beverages and that in the nurse aides’ opinions about 20 percent of the residents have developed health issues as a result. The study’s findings also note that about one-third of the residents who do drink, drink daily.

While there is a possibility of alcohol misuse and abuse may cause negative health effects, the researchers stop short of banning it in assisted living because of the social outlet it provides to combat loneliness and depression.

Does your facility have a happy hour or bistro? Is it a cash operation or facility regulated? Are alcoholic selections limited? Have you experienced negative behaviors? Or does the venue provide a positive atmosphere of conviviality and bonding? How are you protecting your residents and your facility alcohol abuse? Let me know how your handling this issue in your facility.

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Sandra Hoban

Managing Editor

Sandra Hoban

@SandiHoban

www.ltlmagazine.com

Sandra Hoban has been on Long-Term Living’s editorial staff for 17 years. She is one of...