Alcohol Bingeing in Elderly More Common Than Most Think
Wednesday, May 7 2014 Guest Author
Recent Study Shows Male Seniors Drink Eight Times as Much as Women
The baby boomer generation is known for being the 1960s “wild child” generation that redefined American culture with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. As 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 each day, they are collectively changing the landscape of what it means to be a senior citizen. Baby boomers experimented more with alcohol than any other previous generation, and we can expect prevalence of binge drinking, at-risk drinking, problem-drinking and related alcohol problems to worsen.
Alcohol Bingeing in the Elderly
Current drinking of people aged 65 years and older is concerning. A national study alcohol use in 5,075 adults ages 65 and older and found that 4.3% of men and 0.5% of women reported drinking heavily twice a month or more; another 8.3 % of men and 1.5% of women reported doing so once a month or more.
Unlike previous generations who grew up during prohibition laws, for baby boomers drinking was an acceptable part of culture and was encouraged. For boomers, drinking comes with quality of life, being social, easing stress, alcohol-related health benefits (i.e., red wine), but it also comes with potential age-related alcohol problems (i.e., health problems such as cognitive decline, liver damage, alcohol-related heart disease, interaction with medications, falling or car accidents). As the baby boomers are redefining what it means to grow old, will they curtail their drinking?
Will the Elderly Reduce Their Drinking?
It’s really doubtful. Without preventative services aimed at this specific group, we can expect the prevalence of binge drinking, at-risk drinking, problem-drinking and related alcohol problems to worsen, particularly for males as research suggests higher levels of heavy drinking. Considering the health benefits and also the serious consequences, what will you do for yourself, your parents, or even grandparents?
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