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Saturday 17th March 2018

Over 60 and binge drinking

28th March 2008

Alcohol treatment centres are reporting a significant increase in the number of elderly people who are experiencing problems with alcoholism.


Sue Allchurch, director of the Linwood Group (a group of treatment centres across the UK), says since 2006 they have seen a rise of 18% in the amount of female patients admitted to rehab aged over 60, and a 15% rise in men over 60.

She said: "Combine boredom, loneliness and the worry of getting older and you have the perfect formula for someone to turn to drinking excessively."

The largest numbers of elderly people looking for treatment for alcoholism is in Scotland. Andrew Horne, director of operations in the country for the charity Addaction, said he frequently saw people who dictate their lives based on when they have a drink.

Increasing numbers of older people remain healthy as they age and have to give up work before they want to. Loneliness and grief can add to the danger of people using to alcohol as a prop.

Mr Horne reported that he saw people over 80 becoming dependent on alcohol.

Frank Soodeen, a spokesman for Alcohol Concern, said that some years ago there was increased awareness of this issue: "but it's still the case that treatments focusing on the needs of older people are very, very rare."

He added that there was a lack of research about the problem in the UK, so exact figures were not accessible or available.

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