Drunk Over 50s Deemed Most Common Ambulance Users

Drunk Over 50s Deemed Most Common Ambulance Users

According to a recent report, the most common users of ambulances are now inebriated men in their 50s. The number of inebriated users is so high that they now make up more than 50% of visits from ambulances.

An Increase in Drinking Behaviours

The statistics around drinkers over 50 might be surprising, but researchers are very interested in figuring out why this number has been on the rise in recent years. The experts believe that the increase in alcohol consumption in men between the ages of 50 and 59 is actually linked to 3 factors – boredom, loneliness and depression.

This research suggests that there might be a need to tackle these risk factors within this age group, in order to prevent risky behaviours related to excessive and regular alcohol consumption, which is in itself, a risky behaviour.

Outdoing the Younger Generation

It was previously believed that it was men between the ages of 15 and 39 who were the most common users of ambulances once they became intoxicated, but according to the Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre, this is simply not the case. The study, which was conducted in Australia, highlights the fact that consuming large amounts of alcohol can affect anyone and everyone, and those that fall within the over 50s category are no exception.

Alcohol and its Affect on the Over 50s Body

According to the experts, alcohol actually affects older individuals in slightly different ways than it affects their younger counterparts. If the Department of Veteran Affairs is to be believed, the overall water volume levels within the body decrease with age, so individuals actually have to drink less in order for them to become inebriated. Adding that to the risk of taking alcohol with medication, and this behaviour becomes very risky indeed.

A Growing Problem

The same study that found older men drink because they are bored, lonely or depressed also found that around 7% of individuals over the age of 60 actually binge drink on a weekly basis. What is more, about 14.5% of this population was actually considered to be “at risk” drinkers.

Taking Care

In order to curb the risks related to drinking, it is important that individuals take care to decrease their alcohol intake during the summer, as well as for older men to ensure they are not drinking excessively. Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to falls and serious injuries, but it can also lead to family conflict, which can ultimately put these individuals at a higher risk for being isolated from the people they care about.

Being aware of developing trends in alcohol consumption in various age groups can help experts to find ways of informing and supporting individuals who are at risk, and ultimately help the general popular make healthier decisions that will benefit themselves and their families.

6 comments

  • Diane Lane

    Those who are drinkers or druggers are often separated from loved ones due to conflicts that arise from that behavior, and some of the behavior is due to those separations. What may have been accepted behavior in one’s 20s or 30s is often no longer tolerated as people age. Often, friends and family members are busy with other matters, and choose not to be around such behavior, which can lead those left behind to increase that behavior, resulting in further estrangement, loss of companionship, divorce, loss of employment, etc. All of these can cause a snowball effect and exacerbate the problem.

    The 50’s is a time where changes are taking place, and people who have never married, or who are divorced, can start to realize that they may end up alone. This can trigger depression and anxiety for some, and as a result, some will turn to alcohol or drugs to manage those feelings.

    What’s good is that the behaviors are being identified, since without that, the behaviors often will not change. For some, simply having the issue identified can be a wake up call, and could result in a decrease or stoppage of the behaviors. For others, who are unable or unwilling to control their intake of alcohol or drugs, treatment and support could be helpful.

    Knowing risk factors can help professionals to identify potential issues sooner than in the past, and they can discuss the issue with patients/clients. Having the information such as that of the lower hydration levels and seasonal risk could be impactful for certain people who are able to modify their behavior for better outcomes.

  • RetJo

    Most people in the 50-something age group are in a fair amount of denial about their physical and mental abilities. If we learn to accept the aging process gracefully, while doing the right things to stay physically and mentally healthy, we would have fewer problems. We also need to combat isolation as we lose loved ones in our later years, and when we retire. Every retiree should have a plan for covering the socialization gap when they leave their careers: volunteerism, religious affiliation, age-appropriate sports clubs, book clubs, and many other healthy ways exist to socialize–this may dissuade people from using the pub as their only social venue.

  • aquaticneko

    The 50s age group can be tough as it sneaks up on you before you realize that you aren’t as young as you were. It can take a while for the realization to kick in that we cannot simply do as much as we used to. We are too used to such a fast lifestyle that it takes an unfortunate accident to change that. An incident that forces us to slow down. It’s sad because usually it is too late by then. Most severe drunks are usually somewhat recluses to friends or families. This is usually due to the thought process of the slowing down of your lifestyle can cause mental breakdowns for some. In times like these alcohol is usually turned to.

  • blazeC

    I have been living out of the alcohol-consuming loop for over twenty years, and as a result tend not to be around too many drunk over-50s. I do live in a sociable, wine-making neighbourhood, though, and I like to celebrate important life-markers with my community, so, of course, I do see the individuals over-50 who drink a little more than everyone else, and who have to be diplomatically asked to leave when the party’s over. I find the situation very sad because many of these folks are people who had bright careers and who are much-loved by their families and friends. As RetJo states above:” Every retiree should have a plan for covering the socialization gap when they leave their careers: volunteerism, religious affiliation, age-appropriate sports clubs, book clubs, and many other healthy ways exist to socialize–this may dissuade people from using the pub as their only social venue.”

    And, as was also covered, the addiction process is probably well in play before many problem-drinkers even reach fifty. Do people really just start escalating their drinking after 50, or is it likely that they were already drinking excessively before retirement, just that they had other activities interspersed so that the perception by others may have been skewed? I know that my beloved father was a high-roller businessman who punctuated most of his business deals with drinks with whoever was on the other end of the deal. I suppose he might have been called a “functional alcoholic’ during his long career. Drinking was definitely part of his lifestyle. When he retired, and after my mother passed away, he did definitely experience loneliness and depression. I’m not sure that he drank MORE, but I do know that he certainly sank into a state of poor general health, heavy smoking, forgetting to eat, deplorable hygiene and isolation. He was a lovely man to the end of his life, but he did not enjoy life or travel.

    I also disagree that the majority of alcoholics are recluses– I believe you will find a number of extroverted individuals also succumb to alcoholism and these are often the angry, noisy drunks you come across who make life hell for their families. They may well isolate themselves and their wives in retirement, but that does not mean they are introverted, or reclusive, by nature.

    Personally, I do not find much to redeem alcohol-consumption as a lifestyle choice. My recent observation has been that many of my women friends and former work-mates who are just pre-retirement, or newly retired, have developed burgeoning tolerance for wine. Wine-making and wine-drinking have almost replaced other retirement “hobbies”. I don’t want to go off about that, but I do suggest that drinking one or more bottles of wine every day as a couple might be today’s trendy lifestyle but in a few years we will find a lot of our ‘reclusive’ retirement-age alcoholics arrived where they are through wine-drinking.

  • GemmaRowlands

    I think there is actually a huge rise in my age group of people who drink a lot – because it is seen as more socially acceptable to do so. I also think that social media has a lot to answer for, in that you have to make out that you’re being sociable all the time, and if you don’t you worry that people think there’s something wrong with you, even though there very much might not be at all. There is a huge social pressure to be out there “having a good time” and this means that yes, a lot of people in this age group are taking things too far. It needs to be talked about, and people need to start realising just how much damage they’re doing by drinking that much.

  • puneeth8994

    This is a really interesting article. It’s actually surprising to see the statistics going in this fashion when we are taught to follow our elders or maybe the issue is being too genralized, This might not essentially be the case with everyone.
    But, it’s hard to blame them with the increase in divorce rates among people who are 50+ but getting drunk to an extent which causes alcohol poisoning seems over the line for anyone from any age group.

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