Thursday 30 March 2017

You’ve had enough: Why elderly need to cut drink intake

Rosenmary Grady

Psychiatrists have warned senior citizens to cut down on their alcohol intake.

One third of older people with alcohol problems develop them later in life… and loneliness through bereavement and boredom after retirement are among the main causes.

Turning to drink can have serious physical and mental side effects, stated Dr. Tony Rao, a UK consultant in old-age psychiatry and one of the authors of a new report.

"As we age, there are other accompanying factors such as increasing memory problems and physical health problems and less of an ability to get rid of alcohol from the blood stream. This means that the effect of what we would currently call the safe limits is actually more damaging for older people.

‘‘The ageing body contains less water and more fat, meaning smaller amounts of alcohol can do more damage. The liver takes longer to break down the poisons in alcohol, meaning they remain longer in the body."

It is recommended that alcohol limits for pensioners should be reduced for the good of their health.

They favour an upper limit of 1.5 units for men - approximately half a pint of beer, which is much less than the current recommendation of three to four units a day.

For women over 65, the limits should be lowered from two to three units a day to just one a day.

Half a pint of ordinary strength beer counts as one unit and a small glass of wine is equal to one and a half units.

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