Alcohol Abuse Among the Elderly Is Rising
As the baby boomer generation approaches old age, the percentage of seniors with drinking problems is likely to increase.
According to a recent study, at least one in five elderly people binge drink more than the recommended levels. Women over 65 years old were found to drink too much while one in five men has too many drinks. These numbers are expected to jump as baby boomers enter this category.
In a recent article, experts already noted that this generation tends to consume more alcohol than other older generations. Because they are one of the largest generations, there could be a serious epidemic of alcohol-related problems.
Seniors typically have conditions where drinking alcohol would be considered risky behavior. Older people tend to be more commonly diabetic, have high blood pressure or take medication. Consuming any amount of alcohol with these conditions is not good for their health.
A leader in the study for Alcohol Research UK, Dr. Sarah Wadd, says for many people, especially those 75 years old or older, metabolizing alcohol can be difficult.
There is a lot of focus on young people and drinking problems, however, the elderly population is at risk as well. This age group has much more time on their hands, often battles loneliness and usually has a disposable income, all which can lead to an increase in alcohol consumption.
Dr. Wadd says drinking problems can be difficult to see in older people, which poses its own set of problems. She says that researchers think seniors hold back on coming forward about their drinking problems because of shame associated with alcohol and their age. The topics of alcohol and drinking problems are also a hard dialog to bring up between grandchildren as well as social workers, but it is imperative to do so.