Northern Ireland: High Costs of Alcohol Problems in Older People
Alcohol problems among older people (over 50 years of age) in Northern Ireland is costing the health service £125 million per year. The data comes from a report by Queen’s University Belfast.
It comes as the number of alcohol-related deaths in Northern Ireland reached the highest level since records began in 2001.
According to the report, the largest number in deaths in 2017 was among those aged 45-54, closely followed by those aged 55-64.
In May, coroner Joe McCrisken said the number of officially recorded alcohol deaths was the tip of the iceberg.
Meanwhile in March, leading liver consultants expressed concerns over the growing number of women dying from alcohol-related diseases. Female alcohol deaths have increased by 65%.
Alcohol biggest health problem in Northern Ireland
These facts and figures show that alcohol has become the biggest health problem for Northern Ireland.
The study coincides with the publication of a new charter for politicians and policy makers about how to reduce alcohol harm among those over 50 years.
Older people grew up in a society where alcohol was much more accepted. This fact combined with the changes that come with old age are likely factors driving increased use of alcohol and related harm among older people. The trend of increasing alcohol harm is seen across the United Kingdom.
Alcohol use in older age can increase risk of accidents and disease. Use of alcohol increases risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, and cancer for older people. The harm is aggravated when alcohol is combined with prescription drugs, for example this combination can result in heightened risk of falls and injuries.