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Are You Drinking To Much As A Result Of Caring For An Aged Parent?

Friday, May 8th, 2009 Are You Drinking To Much As A Result Of Caring For An Aged Parent?

It has been argued according to Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent of the Telegraph (06 06 09) that the increasing pressures of loooking after aged parents is facillitating middle class people to drink more.

The research has been carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and Inexcess are reporting on their findings, they portray a very worrying prospect.

In essence the report suggests that those between ages 45 and 64 has doubled the amount of alcohol consumption in less than 15 years.

Moreover, the ‘babygloomers’ as they are described are faced with difficulties on two levels. Firstly their children are leaving home and they are finding this a difficult as they become more lonely. Secondly, they are now faced with caring for their elderley parents. From that perspective they are reaching out for the bottle more.

The media are often awash with directing attention to young binge drinkers and issues surrounding how to address their existing problems. However, experts are vey concerned that not enough attention is being paid to middle-aged and older people regularly exceeding the Government’s recommended alcohol limits.

In addition, the report considers that caring for older relations can cause a change in role that can be “difficult” to adjust to, prompting “babygloomers” to turn to drink.

It would now be advantageous to look at the statistics that have been provided. The average number of alcoholic units drunk by 45 to 64-year-olds rose from 5.3 units a week, or two and half standard 175 ml glasses of wine, to 9.8 units, or almost five glasses, between 1992 and 2006, the report found. The existing recommendation from ministers is that women do not exceed three units a day or fourteen a week and that men limit themselves to four a day or at most 21 units a week.

It is estimated that more than 3m Britons are also helping their parents financially after many pensioners found themselves struggling when their income from savings virtually disappeared following the drop in interest rates. Thus compounding the problem. More than a quarter of the 2,000 people surveyed said they have put their holiday on hold due to having parents who need care. A further 15 per cent said they have put off any financial planning, while 13 per cent said they have put their career on hold.

Indeed, financial services group LV=, which carried out the latest survey, said the overall cost of caring for a parent is £132,549, based on the amount of unpaid care adult children invest in their elderly parents over a 10 year period, plus the cost of residential nursing care.

It comes after exclusive research for The Daily Telegraph showed that 1.3 million adults aged between 17 and 65 are paying their parents more than £250 each month with many paying up to £1,000.

Mike Rogers, group chief executive of LV=, said: “We’ve identified not only how much unpaid support adults give their elderly parents every year, but also the growing financial and emotional pressure the ’sandwich generation’ in the UK are facing as a result of the current recession.

“The care that elderly relatives receive from their families is invaluable but there is clearly a growing concern that financial support for rising care home costs may simply be unavailable. Added to these concerns the ’sandwich generation’ is also walking a fine tightrope between caring for their elderly parents, surviving the recession, and also supporting their own children over 18 years old as they make their way through life.”

Millions more care, often in their own homes, for elderly parents or other relatives who cannot look after themselves any more. Babygloomers’ children are also more likely to live further away than in previous generations, while the price of alcohol makes it an affordable luxury, the study warns.

The Royal College of Physicians, Ian Gilmore, says, “We know that women balancing very difficult lives often turn to alcohol at times of stress. This can happen if they are under the pressures of looking after older relations, especially if they become socially isolated and do not find it easy to leave the house.”

His concerns are compounded when he argues that there is a “worrying trend” towards older people, especially women, drinking at home and called on ministers to increase the price of alcohol. That view was echoed by Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern.

He said: “While the attention paid to binge drinking and town centre disorder is important, there’s a crucial need to tackle the hidden harms caused by alcohol for older people, women and children. Alcohol is being sold far too cheaply and irresponsibly – applying a minimum price would reduce the burden on the NHS and police caused by risky consumption.”

The report also found that the number of women “binge” drinking has doubled under Labour. Almost one in six women now regularly drink more than twice the recommended limit, while the number of young men binge drinking has dipped slightly in recent years.

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