This website may not work correctly in Internet Explorer. We recommend switching to a more secure modern web browser such as Microsoft Edge which is already installed on your computer.

View this website in Edge.

Alcohol and falls

Acute alcohol consumption is common in falls-related injuries due to alcohol impairing physical coordination, balance, risk perception, and decision-making. Due to the physiological changes associated with ageing, the presence of co-morbid conditions and the consumption of medications, older adults in particular, are vulnerable to the effects of alcohol and alcohol consumption should be reduced.

Alcohol can impact judgement and how older adults perceive things, affecting mental alertness, balance, and coordination. As we age, our body can find it harder to tolerate and break down alcohol and we are more likely to feel the effects of alcohol sooner and from smaller amounts, increasing the risk of having a fall.

Alcohol-related risk factors for falls in older adults

Older adults may be at risk of a fall if they:

  • Drink alcohol
  • Take more than one medication (see Medication and falls)
  • Drink alcohol while taking medication

Alcohol and medication

Alcohol interacts with a range of medications. The effects of alcohol and medication can be higher when mixed, increasing the risk of having a fall.

For a comprehensive list of medications and their interactions with alcohol, please refer to Injury Matters’ Alcohol and Medication Interactions resource.

How can I support older adults to drink less alcohol?

There are a number of strategies that can be implemented with older adults to reduce their alcohol use. These include:

Swapping to low or no alcohol alternatives

There are many low or no alcohol alternatives available that have the same or similar taste, but contain less or no alcohol.

Maintaining food and water intake

Older adults should stay hydrated by drinking water or other non-alcohol alternatives if drinking alcohol. This can be done by alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.

It is also important for older adults to not skip meals when drinking alcohol and to eat food before and while drinking alcohol to assist alcohol to be absorbed at a slower rate.

Following the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol

If alcohol is ok to drink, the National Health Medical Research Council advises people to not drink more than ten standard drinks a week and more than four in a single drinking session to reduce the risk of harm, including injury.

Alcohol-related support services

There are a number alcohol-related organisations and support services in Western Australia:

More information

For more information, resources, and support about alcohol, visit the following websites:

Find Out More

We strive to be culturally sensitive as we represent the Western Australian community in our imagery.

Please be advised that our website or resources may contain images, videos, or voices of people who have since passed away.

If any material causes concern, please contact us on (08) 6166 7688.

Image Warning