Binge drinking increases in over 50s according to charity which provides services in Spalding
People over the age of 50 having been binge drinking more than once a month, according to a charity.
Nearly one in five (18.7%) people over the age of 50 in the East Midlands are binge drinking more than once a month according to We Are With You, the drug alcohol and mental health charity which provides services in Spalding.
The charity is launching a new over-50s specific alcohol helpline using learning from its Drink Wise Age Well programme funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
An Opinion Matters poll, commissioned by the charity, shows how the restrictions has seriously impacting the drinking habits of over 50s in the East Midlands. While 12% said alcohol is negatively affecting their mental health while more than one in five said lockdown has led to them drinking alone.
A recent study from the Centre for Ageing Better found 32% of people aged between 50 and 70 have been drinking more as a result of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that people over 55 are most likely to drink at hazardous levels, with consumption among this group increasing in recent years while it decreases among younger age groups.
The charity's research shows this issue is set to get worse in the East Midlands over the coming weeks with more than three in four saying they are likely to drink the same or even more during this current lockdown.
The poll also showed how over 50s drinking can impact their loved ones. More than one in three (39.7%) of people in the East Midlands with parents who are over 50 are concerned about at least one of their parents' drinking habits since March and nearly than one in four (23.5%) think their parents are likely to drink more as a result of this second lockdown.
At the same time more than one in three (29.3%) over 50s in the East Midlands said they would not ask anyone for help in relation to their drinking.
Julie Breslin, Head of the Drink Wise, Age Well programme at With You said: “We know that life changes such as bereavement, retirement and a lack of purpose have led to older adults drinking more in recent years while younger generations are drinking less. Nearly 80% of over 50s we work with drink at home alone, hidden from view.
“It’s clear from these findings that the necessary coronavirus restrictions have exacerbated these issues whilst having a big impact on older adult’s mental health. Many older adults are unable to see their loved ones or friends and are drinking more as a way to cope with increased loneliness, isolation and anxiety. As people age their bodies find it harder to process alcohol, so the number of people over 50 who are binge drinking at the current time is really alarming. The impact of this will ripple through families as well as support services and the NHS.
“Across our whole society, only one in five dependent drinkers are accessing support, with older adults often facing additional barriers to coming forward. Our work shows over 50s are most likely to reach out to a service that’s specifically aimed at them. That’s why we are launching this helpline. To anyone 50 or over who’s concerned about their drinking, give us a call. You’ll speak to someone who understands what you’re going through and can support you to make healthier choices that will benefit all parts of your life.”
A trained advisor will provide confidential advice, information and support to anyone aged 50 or over who may be worried about their drinking. Just call 0808 8010750 or visit www.wearewithyou.org.uk for more information.