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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

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
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • Social – Regular
  • Social – Occasional
  • Heavy lone drinking
  • Heavy drinking in a drinking network
cross cutting themes
Cross-cutting themes
  • Social relationships
  • Loss
  • Current and previous lifestyle
  • Financial impacts
  • Health well-being and growing older
  • Responsibility control and independence
  • Seeking help
differences
Differences
  • Cultural differences
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
brighton and hove as a drinking place
Brighton and Hove as a drinking place
  • Night-time economy
  • ‘Safe’ social and leisure spaces
  • Changing nature of pubs
implications for policy and practice
Implications for policy and practice
  • 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?
slide11

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

Full report and findings available to download at

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