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Alcohol problems in the over 65s

Healthcare professionals have warned the elderly about how much alcohol they are consuming, after new research has revealed that 1 in 5 over the age of 65 are drinking unsafe levels.

An analysis of health records found that the heavier drinkers tended to be male and relatively affluent. National guidelines recommend no more than 14 units of alcohol per week for women and 21 units for men. Despite this, the records found that amongst the 5% drinking the most alcohol, men were consuming more than a staggering 49 units a week and women, 23 units.

Aside from the obvious health risks, consuming unsafe levels of alcohol in our later years also increases our chances of suffering from confusion and falls - something that can prove to be fatal in the elderly.

Despite the fact that 21% of those over the age of 65 who were surveyed admitting to drinking more than they should, there are concerns that GPs are less in tune to drinking problems among the elderly. The author of the study, Dr Mark Ashworth, commented:

“Very few GPs are switched on to the idea that their older patients could be drinking at these levels - we all look out for it in younger patients but we are less attuned to it in the elderly.”

Unsafe drinking in elderly higher than average

Despite this misconception, Dr Ashworth said that the rates of unsafe drinking in elderly people are actually higher than those reported for the general population. Unbelievably however, alcohol misuse services are simply not set up to deal with older patients.

If you think that you or someone you know could have a problem with alcohol, please feel free to visit our alcohol addiction treatment and rehabilitation page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available. You can also contact us today to talk about our residential treatment.

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