Australia, New Zealand: Rising Alcohol Issues Among Over-50s
Adults over 50 in Australia and New Zealand are increasingly experiencing alcohol issues due to hazardous levels of alcohol consumption that are requiring hospitalization. Researchers from Massey University, the University of Auckland and the University of New South Wales presented findings of their surveys at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & other Drugs conference in New Zealand. Another study of more than 700 New Zealanders aged 61 to 81 made the scale of the problem clear: 36% of older adults were consistent hazardous alcohol users since their early adulthood.
Researchers concluded it was now critical for aged-care workers and doctors to identify alcohol problems in older people, as well as the possible long-term impacts on cognition.
With the number of older people requiring treatment for alcohol-use disorders predicted to increase substantially in coming years, it’s critically important that we improve our response now,” said Professor Michael Farrell, the director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney.
Baby boomers worldwide are consuming more alcohol than previous generations of older adults, according to an analysis of international ambulance and health survey data.
Alcohol and dementia
In New Zealand, up to 40% of older adults are hazardous alcohol users. In Victoria, Australia, evidence shows that over-50s are responsible for the greatest increase in alcohol-related ambulance call-outs. Alcohol is increasingly a cause of young-onset dementia.