Drinking buddies happy memories and taking to the bottle alcohol and later life
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Drinking Buddies, Happy Memories and Taking to the Bottle: Alcohol and Later Life. Professor Marian Barnes and Dr Lizzie Ward, Social Science Policy and Research Centre. Initial scoping study. Perceptions of practitioners

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Drinking buddies happy memories and taking to the bottle alcohol and later life

Drinking Buddies, Happy Memories and Taking to the Bottle: Alcohol and Later Life

Professor Marian Barnes and

Dr Lizzie Ward, Social Science Policy and Research Centre


Initial scoping study
Initial scoping study Alcohol and Later Life

Perceptions of practitioners

  • Estimated 10-15% of user base of older people had some problem with alcohol

  • Two distinct groups of drinkers

  • In general older people very private

  • Social isolation and drinking ‘behind closed doors’

  • Older people unwilling to change

  • Ageism – the ‘invisibility’ of older people

  • Specific ‘triggers’ for older people’s drinking?


Main issues for practitioners
Main issues for practitioners Alcohol and Later Life

  • Difficulties in knowing how to approach the issue with older people

  • Inability of older people to acknowledge problem

  • Lack of appropriate services for referral

  • Problems related to accommodation

  • The issue of ‘rights’ – should we intervene?


The aims of cheers project
The aims of ‘Cheers’ project Alcohol and Later Life

  • Begin to fill a gap in research into alcohol and older people

  • Emphasise the importance of older people as interpreters of their own lives

  • Place the experience of older people at the centre

  • Develop a team of older people who could work on subsequent projects

  • Develop and build good practice in this type of research


Findings from focus groups
Findings - from focus groups Alcohol and Later Life

What do older people think about alcohol generally

  • ‘it’s a new problem’

  • Young women’s drinking

  • Anti-social behaviour

  • Social and cultural changes

  • Older people’s drinking


Drinking practices and styles
Drinking practices and styles Alcohol and Later Life

  • Social – Regular

  • Social – Occasional

  • Heavy lone drinking

  • Heavy drinking in a drinking network


Cross cutting themes
Cross-cutting themes Alcohol and Later Life

  • Social relationships

  • Loss

  • Current and previous lifestyle

  • Financial impacts

  • Health well-being and growing older

  • Responsibility control and independence

  • Seeking help


Differences
Differences Alcohol and Later Life

  • Cultural differences

  • Gender

  • Sexuality


Brighton and hove as a drinking place
Brighton and Hove as a drinking place Alcohol and Later Life

  • Night-time economy

  • ‘Safe’ social and leisure spaces

  • Changing nature of pubs


Implications for policy and practice
Implications for policy and practice Alcohol and Later Life

  • Creating a context where older people can talk about their drinking

  • Maintaining social spaces

  • Active engagement

  • Low key facilitation

  • ‘Safe units’ – the role of GPs, health promotion and health professionals

  • Older people’s rights?


Ward, Barnes and Gahagan (2009) Alcohol and Later LifeCheers!? A project about older people and alcohol

Full report and findings available to download at

www.brighton.ac.uk/sass/research/publications


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