Why campaign should target Calderdale's baby boomer boozers

Alcohol stock
Alcohol stock

Next year’s Dry January and Alcohol Awareness Week should focus on older adults and particularly the “baby boomer” generation, recommends a new health report.

Calderdale’s Director of Public Health Paul Butcher’s annual public health report for 2017-18, which was presented to Calderdale’s Health and Wellbeing Board, looks at the effect the borough’s changing demographic – with a larger percentage of older citizens – will have on the area’s health and social care systems.

Ensuring people remained healthier for longer increases their quality of life and reduces pressures on health and social care systems, he said.

One of 17 targeted recommendations where Mr Butcher has identified aspects which need to be tackled is awareness of the impact of alcohol on that age group.

Mr Butcher reports that the “baby boomer” generation, born between 1946 and 1964, and now aged between 53 and 71 years old, are highest at risk of rising substance misuse in Calderdale’s older population.

Substance abuse in older people is associated with reduced life expectancy and accelerated ageing, compounded by socio-economic deprivation, the report found.

“Death rates in older people with substance misuse are higher than in the general older population.

“Deaths relating to poisoning from substances in older people have more than doubled over the past decade.

“Recent revision of lower risk drinking guidelines for all age groups may still be too high from some older people,” said Mr Butcher.

Older people with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and personality disorder have higher rates of substance misuse than those without mental disorders, he reported.

Health partners, including Calderdale Council and NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), will work towards having better informed policy and practice about preventing alcohol dependancy in particular in later life, improving health and wellbeing for people over 50 who are at risk of developing substance misuse problems and ensuring more efficient delivery of services to prevent alcohol dependency among the ageing population.