The Observer reported that the Big Lottery Fund has just announced an investment into a UK-wide £25 million programme called “Rethink Good Health“.
It’s aim is to tackle late-onset alcohol misuse.
The Big Lottery Fund chairman Peter Ainsworth says he doesn’t want to stop older people enjoying themselves but the public tends to stigmatise younger people for drinking.
There is now a lot of evidence that as people get older and face life-changing events such as retirement or bereavement, or when they are lonely, in pain or suffer ill-health, they may start to drink more.
A charity called Phoenix, which helps people with drug or alcohol problems, is seeing an epidemic of older people overdoing it with more being admitted to hospital as a result. In the last five years there has been a 62% increase in alcohol-related admissions for the over-65s.
An estimated 1.4 million people aged 65 and over currently exceed recommended drinking limits. As baby boomers move into old age they drink higher levels than previous generations (and well we might some would say!)
Experts advise that we abstain from drink on at leat two days a week but the over-65s are more likely than any other age group to drink on six or seven days a week. And although there are more men than women who drink enough to harm themselves (1 in 5 men & 1 in 10 women) it is women in this category which has increased by 100% over the last twenty years compared to a 40% rise in men.
Which bring me to the second report in the Sunday Times. Based on research by CACI, it reported that is was rich women who are the hard drinkers.
I’ve posted about women and drinking before and the advantages for women of moderate drinking.
The CACI research shows that women who live in posh post-code areas are more likely to have an alcohol problem than those who live in more modest areas.
So if you live in a million-pound home and enjoy a six-figure salary you may be one of the tw0-thirds of women who drink more than the recommended 3 units of alcohol a day.
Men and women in these areas also suffer more than twice the level of anxiety and nerves (6.5%) than the general population. The only people more likely to suffer like this are those living in high-rise flats, elderly people in social housing and young renters.
Women who live in these expensive areas usually don’t need to work and are socially active – “ladies who lunch”.
There is a similar phenomenon in post-codes popular with footballers. 40% of footballers’ wives drink more than the recommended limit compared to 29% nation-wide. Their male partners also drink more but their healthy lifestyles and diet can mask the problem.
The perception is that drinking at home, particularly wine, is safe and sensible. This has been called the silent epidemic which can lead to significant health problems later in life.