More admissions to hospitals in England of pensioners for alcohol-related injuries and illness than of 16- to 24-year-olds.

Older people are abusing alcohol more than the young – an important topic covered today in The Guardian:

While it is young people who are often stigmatised for their drinking habits, a silent story is evolving among older people as they experience life-changing events such as retirement, redundancy or bereavement.

Recent statistics show more admissions to hospitals in England of pensioners for alcohol-related injuries and illness than of 16- to 24-year-olds in 2012-2013. In the past five years there has been a 62% increase in alcohol-related admissions for the over-65s. The number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK remains highest in the 55-74 age group, and surveys suggest that since 1984 both men and women aged 45 to 65 have been exceeding the sensible limits in rising numbers.

It is a hidden health timebomb, said Dr Sarah Wadd, programme director for substance misuse and ageing research at the Institute of Applied Social Research at the University of Bedfordshire. She said: “Evidence suggests that the UK may be facing an epidemic of alcohol-related harm among older people. An estimated 1.4 million people aged 65 and over currently exceed recommended drinking limits, and the large numbers born in the post-second world war economic boom period – the so-called baby-boomers – are moving into old age drinking relatively high levels of alcohol compared with previous generations.”

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