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What is Cite This For Me’s APA Reference Generator?

Cite This For Me’s open-access reference generator is an automated citation machine that turns any of your sources into references in just a click. Using a bibliography generator helps students to integrate referencing into their research and writing routine; turning a time-consuming ordeal into a simple task.

A referencing generator is essentially a citation machine that accesses information from across the web, drawing the relevant information into a fully-formatted bibliography that clearly presents all of the sources that have contributed to your work.

If you don’t know how to reference a website correctly, or have a fast-approaching deadline, Cite This For Me’s accurate and intuitive reference generator will lend you the confidence to realise your full academic potential. In order to get a grade that reflects all your hard work, your references must be accurate and complete. Using a bibliography generator not only saves you time but also ensures that you don’t lose valuable marks on your assignment.

Not sure how to write a bibliography, what in-text referencing is, or just want to find out more about Cite This For Me’s reference generator? This guide outlines everything you need to know to equip yourself with the know-how and confidence to research and cite a wide range of diverse sources in your work.

Why Do I Need To Reference?

Simply put, referencing is the citing of sources used in essays, articles, research, conferences etc. When another source contributes to your work, you have to give the original owner the appropriate credit. After all, you wouldn’t steal someone else’s possessions so why would you steal their ideas?

Regardless of whether you are referencing a website, an article or a podcast, any factual material or ideas you take from another source must be acknowledged in a reference unless it is common knowledge (e.g. The Second World War started in 1939). Failing to credit all of your sources, even when you’ve paraphrased or completely reworded the information, is plagiarism. Plagiarising will result in disciplinary action, which can range from losing precious marks on your assignment to expulsion from your university.

What’s more, attributing your research infuses credibility and authority into your work, both by supporting your own ideas and by demonstrating the breadth of your research. For many students, crediting sources can be a confusing and tedious process, but it’s a surefire way to improve the quality of your work so it’s essential to get it right. Luckily for you, using Cite This For Me’s reference generator makes creating accurate references easier than ever, leaving more time for you to excel in your studies.

In summary, the citing process serves three main functions:

  • To validate the statements and conclusions in your work by providing directions to other sound sources that support and verify them.
  • To help your readers locate, read and check your sources, as well as establishing their contribution to your work.
  • To give credit to the original author and hence avoid committing intellectual property theft (known as ‘plagiarism’ in academia).

How Do I Cite My Sources With The Cite This For Me Referencing Generator?

Cite This For Me’s reference generator is the most accurate citation machine available, so whether you’re not sure how to format in-text referencing or you don’t know how to write a bibliography, this bibliography generator will solve all of your citing needs.

Crediting your source material with a bibliography maker doesn’t just prevent you from losing valuable marks for plagiarism, it also provides all of the information to help your reader find for themselves the book, article, or other item you are citing. The accessible interface of the reference generator makes it easy for you to identify the source you have used – simply enter its unique identifier into the citation machine search bar. If this information is not available you can search for the title or author instead, and then select from the search results that appear below the reference generator.

Don’t know how to reference a website? The good news is that by using tools such as Cite This For Me’s reference generator, which help you work smarter, you don’t need to limit your research to sources that are traditional to cite. In fact, there are no limits to what you can cite with this bibliography maker, whether you want to reference a website, a YouTube video or a tweet.

To use the reference generator, simply:

  • Select your style from Harvard, APA and many more*
  • Choose the type of source you would like to cite (e.g. website, book, journal, video)
  • Enter the URL , DOI , ISBN , title, or other unique source information to find your source
  • Click the ‘Cite’ button on the reference generator
  • Copy your new citation straight from the referencing generator into your bibliography
  • Repeat for each source that has contributed to your work.

*If you require another style for your paper, essay or other academic work, you can select from over 1,000 styles by creating a free Cite This For Me account.

Once you have created your Cite This For Me account you will be able to use the reference generator to create multiple references and save them into a project. Use the highly-rated iOS or Android apps to generate references in a flash with your smartphone camera, export your complete bibliography in one go, and much more.

What Will The Reference Generator Create For Me?

Cite This For Me’s reference generator will create your reference in two parts; an in-text citation and a full reference to be copied straight into your work.

The reference generator will auto-generate the correct formatting for your bibliography and in-text referencing depending on your chosen style. For instance, if you select a parenthetical style to format in-text referencing, the bibliography maker will generate an in-text citation in parentheses along with a full reference to slot into your bibliography. Likewise, if the reference generator is set to a footnote style then it will create a fully-formatted reference for your reference list, as well as a corresponding footnote to insert at the bottom of the page containing the relevant source.

Parenthetical examples:

In-text referencing example: A nation has been defined as an imagined community (Anderson, 2006).* Alternative format: Anderson (2006) defined a nation as an imagined community.

*The reference generator will create your references in the first style, but this should be edited if the author’s name already appears in the text.

Reference list example: Anderson, B. (2006). Imagined Communities. London: Verso.

What Are Citation Styles?

A citation style is a set of rules that you, as an academic writer, must follow to ensure the quality and relevance of your work. There are thousands of styles that are used in different academic institutions around the world, but in Australia the most common are Harvard and APA.

The style you need to use will depend on the preference of your lecturer, discipline or academic institution – so if you’re unsure which style you should be using, consult your department and follow their guidelines exactly, as this is what you’ll be evaluated on when it comes to marking. You can also find your university’s style by logging into your Cite This For Me account and setting your institution in ‘My Profile’.

Citing isn’t just there to guard against plagiarism – presenting your research in a clear and consistent way eases the reader’s comprehension. Each style has a different set of rules for formatting the page, in-text referencing and your reference list. Be sure to adhere to formatting rules such as font type, font size and line spacing to ensure that your work is easily legible. Furthermore, if your work is published as part of an anthology or collected works, each entry will need to be presented in the same style to maintain uniformity throughout. Even when using a citation machine, it is important to make sure that you don’t jump from one style to another, so follow the rules carefully to ensure your reference list and bibliography are both accurate and complete.

If you’re unsure about how to reference and need a hand with your in-text referencing or reference list, why not try Cite This For Me’s reference generator? It’s the quickest and easiest way to cite any source, in any style. The reference generator above will create your citations in the Harvard style as standard, but the bibliography maker can also generate fully-formatted references in over 1,000 styles – including university variations of each style. So, whether your lecturer has asked you to adopt Harvard referencing , or your subject requires you to use APA referencing , AMA or MLA we’re sure to have the style you need. To access each style’s reference generator, simply go to Cite This For Me’s website to create your free Cite This For Me account and search for your specific style.

How Do I Format A Reference List Or Bibliography?

Drawing on a wide range of sources greatly enhances the quality of your work, and reading above and beyond your recommended reading list – and then using these sources to support your own thesis – is an excellent way to impress your reader. As well as in-text referencing, a clearly presented reference list and bibliography demonstrate the lengths you have gone to in researching your chosen topic.

Typically, a reference list starts on a new page at the end of the main body of text and includes a complete list of the sources you have actually cited in your paper. This list should contain all the information needed for the reader to locate the original source of the information, quote or statistic that directly contributed to your work. On the other hand, a bibliography is a comprehensive list of all the material you may have consulted throughout your research and writing process. Both provide the necessary information for readers to retrieve and check the sources cited in your work.

Each style’s guidelines will define the terminology of ‘reference list’ and ‘bibliography’, as well as providing formatting guidelines for font, line spacing and page indentations. In addition, it will instruct you on how to order each list – this will usually be either alphabetical or chronological (meaning the order that these sources appear in your work). Even if you’ve used a bibliography generator, be sure to check that you have formatted your whole paper according to your style’s formatting guidelines before submitting your work.

Sound complicated? Citing has never been so easy. If you don’t know how to write a bibliography, Cite This For Me’s bibliography generator will automatically generate fully-formatted references for your reference list and bibliography in your chosen style. Sign in to your Cite This For Me account to save and export your bibliography.

How Do References Actually Work?

Although the bibliography maker will cite your sources for you in record time, it is still useful to understand how a reference generator works behind the scenes. Understanding how a citation machine actually generates references will greatly increase the quality of your work.

As well as saving you time with its referencing generator, Cite This For Me provides the learning resources to help you fully understand the citing process and the benefits of adopting great referencing standards.

The referencing process:

  • Find a book, journal, website or other source that will contribute to your work
  • Save the quote, image, data or other information that you will use in your work
  • Save the source information that enables you to find it again (i.e. URL, ISBN, DOI etc.)
  • Format the source information into a reference
  • Copy and paste the citation into the body of the text
  • Export or copy and paste the fully-formatted reference into your bibliography
  • Repeat for each source that contributes to your work

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Economic Synopses

The innovation puzzle: patents and productivity growth.

Evaluating innovation policy includes understanding the pace of technological progress. Economists often measure a country's rate of progress using the number of new patents, which are exclusive rights inventors receive for their inventions. Figure 1 shows that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. inventors 50% more patents per capita in the 2000s than in the 1950s, which suggests an acceleration in the rate of technological progress. 

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Productivity growth is another measure of technological progress: In the U.S. it tells a different story than the boost in patents. Figure 1 shows that U.S. productivity growth in the 2000s is about half as high as it was in the 1950s. Why are innovations embodied in patents not translating to higher productivity growth? 

One possibility is that each patent embodies much less creative growth than in the past. A method to distinguish creative from derivative patents is to examine the share of original terminology contained in a patent. For example, patents about "cloud computing" in 2007, when the term was first used in patents, would be creative in 2007 and derivative afterward. The measure captures creativity in patents through inventors' tendency to articulate their creative inventions using original terminology (Kalyani, 2024). 

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Figure 2 plots the number of creative patents per capita and the total number of patents per capita. It shows that the number of creative patents is in line with the pattern of productivity growth: U.S. inventors produced only about half as many creative patents per capita in the 2000s than they did in the 1950s. However, the excess increase in patents is entirely driven by an increase in non-creative or derivative patents. The correlation between creative patents per capita and productivity growth over the decades is 75.7%.

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This pattern—an increase in patents but a decline in creativity and productivity growth—is evident in the computer-related manufacturing industry. Figure 3 shows productivity growth, creative patenting, and patenting in computer-related manufacturing between 1970 and 2020. During the 80s and 90s, this industry experienced the largest increase in productivity—2.2% per year for 1987-1995 and 4.4% per year for 1995-2006. This rapid rise tapered off after 2006, when productivity growth in computer-­related manufacturing fell to 1.9%. Creative patenting followed the pattern of productivity growth, increasing by 70.1% during the 80s and 90s and decreasing by 29.8% afterward; but, in sharp contrast, new patenting in computer-­related manufacturing continued to increase at an exponential rate. 

A decline in creative patenting and productivity growth could be interpreted as a slowdown in the rate of technological progress. However, a caveat is that recent innovations might not be accounted for in either new patents or productivity growth, especially in service sectors. Total factor productivity (TFP) measures how much output is produced from a certain number of inputs (such as labor and capital). It is calculated as total output divided by a weighted measure of inputs such as labor and capital. But it is difficult to precisely measure outputs and inputs in services due to (i) the prevalence of intangible outputs and inputs, (ii) differences in labor quality, and (iii) unobserved organizational inputs. For instance, it is difficult to quantify the contribution of e-commerce or online retail to technological progress in retail because commonly used measures of TFP struggle to account for improved quality and convenience (outputs) and the use of intangibles such as software (inputs). 

Ultimately, technological progress enables rising wages and living standards while it transforms industries and reshapes the economy. Understanding the pace and nature of technological progress is key for evaluating innovation policy and projecting economic growth.


Gordon, Robert J. "Revisiting U.S. Productivity Growth over the Past Century with a View of the Future." National Bureau of Economic Research , No. w15834, 2010.

Kalyani, Aakash. "The Creativity Decline: Evidence from U.S. Patents." SSRN 4318158, 2024.

© 2024, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Federal Reserve System.

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Is a robot writing your kids’ essays? We asked educators to weigh in on the growing role of AI in classrooms.

Educators weigh in on the growing role of ai and chatgpt in classrooms..

Kara Baskin talked to several educators about what kind of AI use they’re seeing in classrooms and how they’re monitoring it.

Remember writing essays in high school? Chances are you had to look up stuff in an encyclopedia — an actual one, not Wikipedia — or else connect to AOL via a modem bigger than your parents’ Taurus station wagon.

Now, of course, there’s artificial intelligence. According to new research from Pew, about 1 in 5 US teens who’ve heard of ChatGPT have used it for schoolwork. Kids in upper grades are more apt to have used the chatbot: About a quarter of 11th- and 12th-graders who know about ChatGPT have tried it.

For the uninitiated, ChatGPT arrived on the scene in late 2022, and educators continue to grapple with the ethics surrounding its growing popularity. Essentially, it generates free, human-like responses based on commands. (I’m sure this sentence will look antiquated in about six months, like when people described the internet as the “information superhighway.”)


I used ChatGPT to plug in this prompt: “Write an essay on ‘The Scarlet Letter.’” Within moments, ChatGPT created an essay as thorough as anything I’d labored over in AP English.

Is this cheating? Is it just part of our strange new world? I talked to several educators about what they’re seeing in classrooms and how they’re monitoring it. Before you berate your child over how you wrote essays with a No. 2 pencil, here are some things to consider.

Adapting to new technology isn’t immoral. “We have to recalibrate our sense of what’s acceptable. There was a time when every teacher said: ‘Oh, it’s cheating to use Wikipedia.’ And guess what? We got used to it, we decided it’s reputable enough, and we cite Wikipedia all the time,” says Noah Giansiracusa, an associate math professor at Bentley University who hosts the podcast “ AI in Academia: Navigating the Future .”

“There’s a calibration period where a technology is new and untested. It’s good to be cautious and to treat it with trepidation. Then, over time, the norms kind of adapt,” he says — just like new-fangled graphing calculators or the internet in days of yore.

“I think the current conversation around AI should not be centered on an issue with plagiarism. It should be centered on how AI will alter methods for learning and expressing oneself. ‘Catching’ students who use fully AI-generated products ... implies a ‘gotcha’ atmosphere,” says Jim Nagle, a history teacher at Bedford High School. “Since AI is already a huge part of our day-to-day lives, it’s no surprise our students are making it a part of their academic tool kit. Teachers and students should be at the forefront of discussions about responsible and ethical use.”

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Teachers and parents could use AI to think about education at a higher level. Really, learning is about more than regurgitating information — or it should be, anyway. But regurgitation is what AI does best.

“If our system is just for students to write a bunch of essays and then grade the results? Something’s missing. We need to really talk about their purpose and what they’re getting out of this, and maybe think about different forms of assignments and grading,” Giansiracusa says.

After all, while AI aggregates and organizes ideas, the quality of its responses depends on the users’ prompts. Instead of recoiling from it, use it as a conversation-starter.

“What parents and teachers can do is to start the conversation with kids: ‘What are we trying to learn here? Is it even something that ChatGPT could answer? Why did your assignment not convince you that you need to do this thinking on your own when a tool can do it for you?’” says Houman Harouni , a lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Harouni urges parents to read an essay written by ChatGPT alongside their student. Was it good? What could be done better? Did it feel like a short cut?

“What they’re going to remember is that you had that conversation with them; that someone thought, at some point in their lives, that taking a shortcut is not the best way ... especially if you do it with the tool right in front of you, because you have something real to talk about,” he says.

Harouni hopes teachers think about its implications, too. Consider math: So much grunt work has been eliminated by calculators and computers. Yet kids are still tested as in days of old, when perhaps they could expand their learning to be assessed in ways that are more personal and human-centric, leaving the rote stuff to AI.

“We could take this moment of confusion and loss of certainty seriously, at least in some small pockets, and start thinking about what a different kind of school would look like. Five years from now, we might have the beginnings of some very interesting exploration. Five years from now, you and I might be talking about schools wherein teaching and learning is happening in a very self-directed way, in a way that’s more based on … igniting the kid’s interest and seeing where they go and supporting them to go deeper and to go wider,” Harouni says.

Teachers have the chance to offer assignments with more intentionality.

“Really think about the purpose of the assignments. Don’t just think of the outcome and the deliverable: ‘I need a student to produce a document.’ Why are we getting students to write? Why are we doing all these things in the first place? If teachers are more mindful, and maybe parents can also be more mindful, I think it pushes us away from this dangerous trap of thinking about in terms of ‘cheating,’ which, to me, is a really slippery path,” Giansiracusa says.

AI can boost confidence and reduce procrastination. Sometimes, a robot can do something better than a human, such as writing a dreaded resume and cover letter. And that’s OK; it’s useful, even.

“Often, students avoid applying to internships because they’re just overwhelmed at the thought of writing a cover letter, or they’re afraid their resume isn’t good enough. I think that tools like this can help them feel more confident. They may be more likely to do it sooner and have more organized and better applications,” says Kristin Casasanto, director of post-graduate planning at Olin College of Engineering.

Casasanto says that AI is also useful for de-stressing during interview prep.

“Students can use generative AI to plug in a job description and say, ‘Come up with a list of interview questions based on the job description,’ which will give them an idea of what may be asked, and they can even then say, ‘Here’s my resume. Give me answers to these questions based on my skills and experience.’ They’re going to really build their confidence around that,” Casasanto says.

Plus, when students use AI for basics, it frees up more time to meet with career counselors about substantive issues.

“It will help us as far as scalability. … Career services staff can then utilize our personal time in much more meaningful ways with students,” Casasanto says.

We need to remember: These kids grew up during a pandemic. We can’t expect kids to resist technology when they’ve been forced to learn in new ways since COVID hit.

“Now we’re seeing pandemic-era high school students come into college. They’ve been channeled through Google Classroom their whole career,” says Katherine Jewell, a history professor at Fitchburg State University.

“They need to have technology management and information literacy built into the curriculum,” Jewell says.

Jewell recently graded a paper on the history of college sports. It was obvious which papers were written by AI: They didn’t address the question. In her syllabus, Jewell defines plagiarism as “any attempt by a student to represent the work of another, including computers, as their own.”

This means that AI qualifies, but she also has an open mind, given students’ circumstances.

“My students want to do the right thing, for the most part. They don’t want to get away with stuff. I understand why they turned to these tools; I really do. I try to reassure them that I’m here to help them learn systems. I’m focusing much more on the learning process. I incentivize them to improve, and I acknowledge: ‘You don’t know how to do this the first time out of the gate,’” Jewell says. “I try to incentivize them so that they’re improving their confidence in their abilities, so they don’t feel the need to turn to these tools.”

Understand the forces that make kids resort to AI in the first place . Clubs, sports, homework: Kids are busy and under pressure. Why not do what’s easy?

“Kids are so overscheduled in their day-to-day lives. I think there’s so much enormous pressure on these kids, whether it’s self-inflicted, parent-inflicted, or school-culture inflicted. It’s on them to maximize their schedule. They’ve learned that AI can be a way to take an assignment that would take five hours and cut it down to one,” says a teacher at a competitive high school outside Boston who asked to remain anonymous.

Recently, this teacher says, “I got papers back that were just so robotic and so cold. I had to tell [students]: ‘I understand that you tried to use a tool to help you. I’m not going to penalize you, but what I am going to penalize you for is that you didn’t actually answer the prompt.”

Afterward, more students felt safe to come forward to say they’d used AI. This teacher hopes that age restrictions become implemented for these programs, similar to apps such as Snapchat. Educationally and developmentally, they say, high-schoolers are still finding their voice — a voice that could be easily thwarted by a robot.

“Part of high school writing is to figure out who you are, and what is your voice as a writer. And I think, developmentally, that takes all of high school to figure out,” they say.

And AI can’t replicate voice and personality — for now, at least.

Kara Baskin can be reached at [email protected] . Follow her @kcbaskin .

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The phone awakened Doug Nordman at 3 a.m. A surgeon was calling from a hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., where Mr. Nordman’s father had arrived at the emergency room, incoherent and in pain, and then lost consciousness.

At first, the staff had thought he was suffering a heart attack, but a CT scan found that part of his small intestine had been perforated. A surgical team repaired the hole, saving his life, but the surgeon had some questions.

“Was your father an alcoholic?” he asked. The doctors had found Dean Nordman malnourished, his peritoneal cavity “awash with alcohol.”

The younger Mr. Nordman, a military personal finance author living in Oahu, Hawaii, explained that his 77-year-old dad had long been a classic social drinker: a Scotch and water with his wife before dinner, which got topped off during dinner, then another after dinner, and perhaps a nightcap.

Having three to four drinks daily exceeds current dietary guidelines , which define moderate consumption as two drinks a day for men and one for women, or less. But “that was the normal drinking culture of the time,” said Doug Nordman, now 63.

At the time of his hospitalization, though, Dean Nordman, a retired electrical engineer, was widowed, living alone and developing symptoms of dementia. He got lost while driving, struggled with household chores and complained of a “slipping memory.”

He had waved off his two sons’ offers of help, saying he was fine. During that hospitalization, however, Doug Nordman found hardly any food in his father’s apartment. Worse, reviewing his father’s credit card statements, “I saw recurring charges from the Liquor Barn and realized he was drinking a pint of Scotch a day,” he said.

Public health officials are increasingly alarmed by older Americans’ drinking. The annual number of alcohol-related deaths from 2020 through 2021 exceeded 178,000, according to recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention : more deaths than from all drug overdoses combined.

An analysis by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows that people over 65 accounted for 38 percent of that total. From 1999 to 2020, the 237 percent increase in alcohol-related deaths among those over age 55 was higher than for any age group except 25- to 34-year-olds.

Americans largely fail to recognize the hazards of alcohol, said George Koob, the director of the institute. “Alcohol is a social lubricant when used within the guidelines, but I don’t think they realize that as the dose increases it becomes a toxin,” he said. “And the older population is even less likely to recognize that.”

The growing number of older people accounts for much of the increase in deaths, Dr. Koob said. An aging population foreshadows a continuing surge that has health care providers and elder advocates worried, even if older people’s drinking behavior doesn’t change.

But it has been changing . The proportions of people over 65 who report using alcohol in the past year (about 56 percent) and the past month (about 43 percent) are lower than for all other groups of adults. But older drinkers are markedly more likely to do it frequently, on 20 or more days a month, than younger ones.

Moreover, a 2018 meta-analysis found that binge drinking (defined as four or more drinks on a single occasion for women, five or more for men) had climbed nearly 40 percent among older Americans over the past 10 to 15 years.

What’s going on here?

The pandemic has clearly played a role. The C.D.C. reported that deaths attributable directly to alcohol use, emergency room visits associated with alcohol, and alcohol sales per capita all rose from 2019 to 2020, as Covid arrived and restrictions took hold.

“A lot of stressors impacted us: the isolation, the worries about getting sick,” Dr. Koob said. “They point to people drinking more to cope with that stress.”

Researchers also cite a cohort effect. Compared to those before and after them, “the boomers are a substance-using generation,” said Keith Humphreys, a psychologist and addiction researcher at Stanford. And they’re not abandoning their youthful behavior, he said.

Studies show a narrowing gender divide, too. “Women have been the drivers of change in this age group,” Dr. Humphreys said.

From 1997 to 2014, drinking rose an average of 0.7 percent a year for men over 60, while their binge drinking remained stable. Among older women, drinking climbed by 1.6 percent annually, with binge drinking up 3.7 percent.

“Contrary to stereotypes, upper-middle-class, educated people have higher rates of drinking,” Dr. Humphreys explained. In recent decades, as women grew more educated, they entered workplaces where drinking was normative; they also had more disposable income. “The women retiring now are more likely to drink than their mothers and grandmothers,” he said.

Yet alcohol use packs a greater wallop for older people, especially for women, who become intoxicated more quickly than men because they’re smaller and have fewer of the gut enzymes that metabolize alcohol.

Seniors may argue that they are merely drinking the way they always have, but “equivalent amounts of alcohol have much more disastrous consequences for older adults,” whose bodies cannot process it as quickly, said Dr. David Oslin, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia.

“It causes slower thinking, slower reaction time and less cognitive capacity when you’re older,” he said, ticking off the risks.

Long associated with liver diseases, alcohol also “exacerbates cardiovascular disease, renal disease and, if you’ve been drinking for many years, there’s an increase in certain kinds of cancers,” he said. Drinking contributes to falls, a major cause of injury as people age, and disrupts sleep.

Older adults also take a lot of prescription drugs, and alcohol interacts with a long list of them. These interactions can be particularly common with pain medications and sleep aids like benzodiazepines, sometimes causing over-sedation. In other cases, alcohol can reduce a drug’s effectiveness.

Dr. Oslin cautions that, while many prescription bottles carry labels that warn against using those drugs with alcohol, patients may shrug that off, explaining that they take their pills in the morning and don’t drink until evening.

“Those medications are in your system all day long, so when you drink, there’s still that interaction,” he tells them.

One proposal for combating alcohol misuse among older people is to raise the federal tax on alcohol, for the first time in decades. “Alcohol consumption is price-sensitive, and it’s pretty cheap right now relative to income,” Dr. Humphreys said.

Resisting industry lobbying and making alcohol more expensive, the way higher taxes have made cigarettes more expensive, could reduce use.

So could eliminating barriers to treatment. Treatments for excessive alcohol use, including psychotherapy and medications, are no less effective for older patients , Dr. Oslin said. In fact, “age is actually the best predictor of a positive response,” he said, adding that “treatment doesn’t necessarily mean you have to become abstinent. We work with people to moderate their drinking.”

But the 2008 federal law requiring health insurers to provide parity — meaning the same coverage for mental health, including substance use disorders, as for other medical conditions — doesn’t apply to Medicare. Several policy and advocacy groups are working to eliminate such disparities.

Dean Nordman never sought treatment for his drinking, but after his emergency surgery, his sons moved him into a nursing home, where antidepressants and a lack of access to alcohol improved his mood and his sociability. He died in the facility’s memory care unit in 2017.

Doug, whom his father had introduced to beer at 13, had been a heavy drinker himself, he said, “to the point of blackout” as a college student, and a social drinker thereafter.

But as he watched his father decline, “I realized this was ridiculous,” he recalled. Alcohol can exacerbate the progression of cognitive decline, and he had a family history.

He has remained sober since that pre-dawn phone call 13 years ago.


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