Baby Boomers Swell the Ranks of Problem Drinkers in Nursing Homes
A new study shows that the number of problem drinkers in nursing homes is rising, and is expected to sharply increase as Baby Boomers age, the Associated Press reported.
“Older people with an alcohol problem are more likely to end up in health-care settings,” said study author Frederic Blow, director of the Veterans Affairs’ Serious Mental Illness Treatment, Research and Evaluation Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
According to Blow’s research alcoholics make up;
- 5 to 7% in the general population
- 10 to 15% of those in hospitals or other primary-care settings,
- 10 to 20% of those in nursing homes, and
- 5 to 10% of those in community mental-health centers.
Blow found that up to 20 percent of the people in nursing homes are problem drinkers. By 2030, one in five people will be age 65 and older, meaning the percentages will likely rise even higher.
“Today’s elderly grew up in a period when alcohol was prohibited. It shaped their values,” he said. “Baby boomers are more likely to have used illegal drugs. They grew up in a different atmosphere of alcohol use.”
Blow said that more education about alcohol is needed, especially on its dangerous interaction with psychoactive drugs, pain drugs, and sedatives. “We need to be educating people about what is excessive and how to deal with it,” he said.
The study’s findings were presented at the first joint conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on the Aging.