An Alcohol Concern briefing has warned of a 150% rise in hospital admissions for over 60’s with alcohol related mental health problems in the last decade. The briefing 'Trends in alcohol related admissions for older people with mental health problems: 2002 to 2012' finds a disproportionate rise amongst older adults, despite an overall rise in all adults and accounting for a growing older population.
The analysis looks at hospital data for those admitted to hospitals in England with mental and behavioural disorders associated with alcohol use. Dr Tony Rao, an alcohol and older people mental health specialist and author of the report, warned that “increasing numbers of older people are living with alcohol related dementia, anxiety and depression – and it’s their loved ones, carers and the rest of society who are left picking up the pieces."
The report also found a 140% increase over the last decade in the number of over 60’s being admitted to hospital with Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome – a form of brain damage caused by alcohol use.
Recently an Alcohol Insight found a significant and growing number of older people are at risk of alcohol-related harm, and that alcohol problems are less likely to be detected in older people. Barriers to identification included complex physical and social problems, including a lack of awareness amongst professionals in recognising alcohol misuse, or barriers for older people to access help.
A 2012 report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists advised over 65's should not drink more than 1.5 units of alcohol a day, and separate recommended guidelines should be considered.
See here for an Alcohol Concern Wales briefing paper and presentations from an alcohol and older people event. See here for a RCP leaflet outlining the key alcohol issues and risks for older people.
See here for the latest annual statistics on alcohol for England 2012.