Drinking habits of the over 65’s being targeted by medics

Maybe older people should rise up against the interference in their lives
Maybe older people should rise up against the interference in their lives

Those of us lucky enough to get beyond the age of 65 without any significant health problems can be forgiven for feeling confident about life.

Why worry about the dreaded ageing when there is absolutely nothing one can do about it - and when it comes to lifestyle, surely it’s best to take every day as it comes, enjoy your good health because it could be snatched away from any of us tomorrow? Isn’t there an old Irish saying – we live as long as long as we’re let?

Sandra Chapman

Sandra Chapman

Another Irish proverb puts it this way: 20 years a-growing; 20 years at rest; 20 years declining and 20 years when it doesn’t matter whether you’re there or not. In fact it’s this last category which appears to be worrying the medical profession more than the rest of us.

The idea that anybody cares about the over 65’s these days is debatable. To many we’re just a nuisance to be paid for, to our children we take fourth place to the spouse, children and their family pet. However, new research from academics at King’s College, London believes the over 65’s are drinking too much. Men, particularly those who’ve retired against their wishes, are drinking more than women. And that can’t be good for health.

Maybe we should rise up against this interference in our lives. Maybe we should take it seriously. Heavy drinking is not particularly good for anyone. Yet where would a celebration be without a drink or three?

I can make the dubious claim that I still have what I call my champagne fridge. At times it has contained more bottles of champers than I’m prepared to admit to. Yes I prefer champagne above all other alcohol but I also prefer to drink it when there’s something to celebrate.

When my first grandchild was born it took me a full 24 hours to remember what name he’d been given. When my granddaughter was born I felt only pink champagne would do. My special fridge appeared quite empty the next day. Someone, definitely, had drunk all the pink stuff.

Drinking has two categories – sensible and non-sensible. Another Irish saying – you take your health once too often to the whiskey shop till it gets broken – is about right.

GPs it seems are worried that too much drinking in older people is causing depression, obesity and high blood pressure with all its problems. It also puts people at risk of falling and breaking a limb.

People sympathise with the young when they gad about and break something. They don’t have the same sympathy or time for the older person in plaster up to the hip, the result of too much tippling.

If over 65 is regarded as old (forget the government’s claim it’s the new 55 because it wants more tax from us even when we’re retired) how come no-one these days regard it as `folly to treat an old woman to a dram?’

My mother and mother-in-law liked the occasional sherry. That one drink would have been sufficient for them the entire night. These days we like a drink before we go out socially yet I don’t think we’re half so bad as the young who have lots of wee drams before they go out, which, on top of what they drink when they arrive at their social event leaves many of them lying in the gutter or carted off by ambulance to have the stomach pumped.

A drunken woman is lost to shame, they say.

I’m certain there is nothing wrong with having a few drinks, but maybe not every day. It helps us deal with the inexorable march of time and makes life more convivial during this summer of constant downpours. Time to stock up my champagne fridge again.