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Harmful drinking is hidden phenomenon in over-50s

Healthy, social and successful people over 50 are more at risk of harmful drinking levels, in hidden 'middle class' phenomenon, research revealed.

Age UK's chief economist, Professor Jose Iparraguirre, authored the research based on 9,000 responses of people living independently in England.

It found that older people of both sexes who are more socially active, highly educated and smoke are more likely to drink heavily, while women who have caring responsibilities are less likely to drink to excess.

The report states: “Harmful drinking in later life is more prevalent among people who exhibit a lifestyle associated with affluence and a 'successful' ageing process.

“Harmful drinking may then be a hidden health and social problem in otherwise successful older people,” it said.

Interestingly, loneliness and depression were not associated with an increased drinking rate.

The researchers are calling for this research to be explicitly incorporated to alcohol drinking levels and patterns into the successful ageing paradigm.