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Alcohol abuse among over 50s has increased since the financial crisis

A new study from Trinity College Dublin also shows high levels of cardiovascular disease, arthritis and obesity.

Updated 11.22pm

THE LEVEL OF ‘problematic drinking’ among older people has risen since 2010, a major new study has revealed.

The number of over 70s with medical cards fell according to the survey — but increased for those over 50.

Published this morning, the second phase of Trinity College Dublin’s Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) shows a high levels of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity.

The information, collected between April 2012 and January 2013, was compared to the previous survey conducted between 2009 and 2010.

High quality of life

However, a high quality of life is still reported in the findings. Income has remained stable, but overall wealth has fallen, largely due to a reduction in the value of property assets’.

It has also revealed that reaching retirement age was often met with a fall in alcohol consumption and smoking, and was likely to prompt the over 65s to purchase private health insurance.
16.5 per cent of those surveyed smoke, a fall of 2 per cent from the previous survey.

The level of problematic drinking, classified according to a CAGE survey, rose 5 per cent to 22 in men, and 3 per cent to 11 in women.

Reacting to the findings, Health Minister James Reilly said it was “a cause for concern” that 44 per cent of the 8,000 surveyed were overweight, with one third classed as obese.


“These findings therefore, remind us that obesity is a lifelong issue and one that will require sustained and targeted interventions across all age groups and into the years ahead.”

The Minister added that TILDA, which is funded by the government, will ‘reatly enhance the quantity and quality of data available about our older population’.

With one fifth of the Irish population expected to be over 65 by 2060, Principal Investigator Professor Rose Anne Kenny said the studies will prove vital for effective government planning.

“TILDA will greatly assist new policy initiatives to address health behaviours and disease prevention so that our later life years can be healthy and independent,” she said.

- First published 10.24am

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