A greater number of senior citizens are drinking more than ever before, and at a greater frequency than before. According to health workers, loneliness is the main reason why older people become heavier drinkers.
In a survey about senior citizens and alcohol from the drug rehabilitation cooperative body, Actis, three out of four health workers believe loneliness is the main reason why older people drink. One in four mentioned grief, reported Dagsavisen newspaper.
The Public Health Institute (FHI) have seen a change in the elderly’s drinking patterns since the mid-1990s.
‘Surveys among the population show that among the elderly, there has been an increase in the proportion of those who drink alcohol, and a definite increase in how often they drink’, said senior researcher, Ingeborg Rossow, at the NIPH Department of Drug Action.
She pointed out that several factors make the elderly people tolerate alcohol less easily than younger ones.
‘Both because the body fluid per kilogram is lower among the elderly, and liver function is often poorer. In addition, there is impaired balance, responsiveness, vision, and hearing, which could increase the risk of injury after alcohol use’, said Rossow.
‘When you’re older, you feel more aches and pains. Alcohol acts as an analgesic, and alcohol consumption among the elderly can thus,to a certain extent, also reflect a type of self-medication’, believes Aino Lundberg, head of A-Center to Kirkens Bymisjon,which also offers assessment and treatment for people with drug-related problems.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today