Swanswell welcomes BBC documentary on alcohol misuse among older people

07 September 2012

Swanswell’s welcoming a BBC documentary airing next week to raise awareness of alcohol misuse among older people.

The programme, called ‘Panorama: Old, drunk and disorderly’ and airing on BBC1 at 7.30pm on Monday 10 September, will investigate why the over-65s are more likely to drink every day, drink at home and drink alone compared to any other age group.

It’s estimated that 1.4 million older people in Britain are drinking too much and last year, there were more alcohol-related hospital admissions among this age group than there were for those aged 16-24 (reports BBC News).

Panorama will also detail specially-commissioned research from statisticians at Sheffield University which suggests the deaths of 50,000 older people could be avoided over the next ten years, if minimum alcohol pricing is rolled out in England.          

Researchers examined the likely outcomes if Scotland’s planned minimum alcohol price of 50 pence per unit was applied in England.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re pleased that Panorama is raising awareness of the problems around older people drinking too much but it’s not a surprise to us because it’s something we see every day.

‘Alcohol doesn’t discriminate, so whether someone is drinking regularly over time or binge drinking, young or old, it still carries the same risks to health and wellbeing.

‘However, alcohol misuse among older people is often hidden - we know that many over-65s prefer to drink in their own homes, often because of boredom or big changes in their lifestyle.

‘While they may feel fit and healthy, prolonged drinking can cause hidden damage that isn’t spotted until it’s too late and they’re admitted to hospital with alcohol-related illnesses or conditions such as liver disease or Alcohol-Related Brain Injury (ARBI).

Hopefully viewers will take note of the documentary’s findings and consider their own drinking habits but ultimately, they need to have access to clear information about the potential harms so they can make their own informed decisions about alcohol.

If they do have concerns about their drinking, they should take the first step and contact an organisation like Swanswell who could help.        

Alcohol misuse is not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – it’s something we all have to take responsibility for.’

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