London: Alcohol misuse in people aged over 60 in the UK is on the increase, new research suggests.
A survey carried out by the charity Foundation66 found over one in eight (13%) admitted to drinking more following retirement.
Of these, one in five (19%) uses alcohol because of depression, and one in eight (13%) drinks to deal with bereavement.
The survey of 857 people aged 60 and over also found that one in eight (12%) older drinkers is most likely to drink alone at home.
A separate poll carried out for the charity revealed widespread concern over the issue, with one in 10 adults worried about the amount of alcohol consumed by a friend or family member aged 60 or over.
The dangers of alcohol are increased among older drinkers, particularly because of medication, frailty, and other health problems.
Heavy drinking is associated with a raised risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and dementia.
And drinking too much can also lead to falls – which are more likely to seriously injure an older person.
Pensioners accounted for 357,300 alcohol-related hospital admissions in England in 2007/8 – a 75% rise in five years.
Sally Scriminger, chief executive of the UK charity Foundation66, said: “The older people we see with drink problems come from all walks of life.”
Last year Foundation66 piloted a project to provide help to older drinkers in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Demand was so heavy that the scheme is now being rolled out in a neighbouring area.