As part of a larger health-promotion project focused on safer use of alcohol and medications by older people, 826 persons living in a small community in Eastern Ontario participated in a survey conducted by nurses in the participant's home. The survey interview varied in length from 30 to 210 minutes and covered alcohol use, medication use, health status, and other aspects of life. This report examines the relationship between drinking practices and self-reported health (overall rating of health, hospital admissions, etc.) as identified by the survey. Among survey participants who abstained from alcohol during the 12 months prior to the survey, former drinkers reported significantly poorer health than did lifetime abstainers and previous drinkers who happened to abstain in the previous year but considered themselves to be infrequent drinkers rather than former drinkers. Among current drinkers, poorer health was associated with drinking more on each occasion of drinking and with a greater total overall volume of alcoholic beverages consumed (as estimated from the drinker's usual weekly consumption), but not with more frequent drinking. Even when controlling for sex, age, education, and depressant medication use, quantity of alcoholic beverage consumption per occasion and overall volume consumed were found to contribute significantly to predicting perceived health. The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of the best ways to assess the risk level of alcohol use among older people, and with recommendations for safer alcohol use.