Older drinkers can be more vulnerable and their needs more complex than younger people with alcohol problems. This can be as a result of the potentially greater physical impact of alcohol misuse on older people, as a result of, for example, the interaction of alcohol and medications; higher blood alcohol concentrations caused by body water reducing with ageing; and reduced alcohol tolerance levels.
Many service users from Addactions over 50’s alcohol service also identified social isolation as an on-going issue for them. Once they have became alcohol free and their health and well-being improved, they often found it difficult to exit from the service, and still sought ongoing support. In response, 55 positive seeks to provide an additional care pathway that encompasses peer mentoring, befriending, and social and educational activities.
The Aberdeenshire Signposting Project works by linking people to local organisations, services, clubs and societies in their community that address issues in a person’s life. The Project had become aware of growing numbers of older people at risk of social isolation resulting from life events such as bereavement, move of house because of physical needs, or impact of developing chronic illness. These older people were presenting at GP surgeries with a range of conditions.