As a risk factor for disability, alcohol has shown the most rapid rise over the past 30 years for people aged 55 and over compared to other age groups. Studies that have claimed health benefits from drinking remain flawed in their design. Many fall down when comparing drinkers with non-drinkers, as they do not take into account the so-called “sick quitter” effect of people in non-drinking control group who have given up drinking through poor health. The other common flaw is studying healthy older people, who represent a selective group who have remained in good health in spite of alcohol, not because of it. Above all, the most recent study concluding purported health benefits did not assessment cognitive impairment at all.
The bottom line is that to protect the brain from alcohol in older people with health problems, it is safest not to drink at all. In those older people who remain healthy, starting to drink would not be advisable, as alcohol is associated with a range or other physical disorders that balance out any “benefits” seen in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases in some groups.
Can alcohol consumption increase your risk of dementia? - Alcohol Health Alliance