Alchoholism amongst over 65s

I am truly sorry to hear you’ve lost your brother so recently, I hope everyone is doing ok.
On a side note, I believe everyone’s tolerance and the effect alcohol has on their body is different . What may severely damage one persons health may not another’s . My MIL drinks at the very least a bottle of wine a day, much more if she’s out or has to travel for any length of Journey.
She looks amazing, it doesn’t seem to effect her . I know if I did that, I’d be a walking car wreck .

Its not a matter of opinion its a matter health fact. If you drink too much, even if in your opinion your not, you will become ill. Because excessive drinking can lower your immune systems ability to deal with disease. So you might not get cancer but you might pick up infections more easily. However i think a bottle of wine every 5-7days is ok. Apparently 2 bottles a week is within the health guidelines.

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Not anymore, at least not in this country.


In fact I believe there is a move amongst health professionals to avoid using the words alcoholic and alcoholism, as they mean so many different things to different people, and are also tainted with moral disapproval.

From what you hear about some care homes, I think I would go for oblivion rather than the comfortable blur. Something to look forward to, eh?


yes your right.

Low Risk Drinking Guidelines

The Chief Medical Officers’ guideline for both men and women states that:

  • To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
  • If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it’s best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days. If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risk of [long-term illness]
  • The risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases the more you drink on a regular basis
  • If you wish to [cut down the amount you drink] a good way to help achieve this is to have several

I’m no expert on guidelines or, indeed, health - and there is a part of me that agrees with @GuidoD 's assertion that there is some cognitive dissonance going on here. However, the fact that different countries set very different limits on alcohol consumption speaks of different cultural attitudes as well.
Perhaps in countries where alcohol is as essential to the gastronomic experience as food is, and where wine consumption is always associated with the togetherness of eating and meeting - the limits tend to be more generous. Northern European countries lack that cultural dimension, to a degree - and in some there is also history of temperance movements, so maybe the limits are more stringent.

For myself - I believe that moderation in all things can help maintain a happier, more convivial lifestyle - without the constant guilt and self-berating that comes after binging or overdoing things (in all spheres).


Interesting and timely new piece from Richard Herring on Jancis’ website:


I used to enjoy reading Asterix many years ago and particularly liked the name of his dog. Idéfix in the French, or Dogmatix in the English versions. They still amuse me.

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Good article, the spectator piece in the link from the article provides even more interesting reading and confirms my feelings regarding the pervasive neo-puritanical anti alcohol propaganda that is difficult to insulate yourself from.

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In britain there has been a tradition of drinking without food. There has been a lot of binge drinking. Which does not do anyone health much good. I usually only drink wine with a meal. I often have a drink when i am cooking a meal . I usually eat cream crackers at the same time.

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A good sensible article and these two points from it:

“Without wishing to sound too frivolous about the importance of health, simply being alive is a hazardous activity. Every breath we take – and every sip we take – brings us a step closer to our ultimate destiny. Nothing we do is without risk.”


“Assuming I am statistically representative, then I don’t want to spend the 49% of my time on this earth without the sheer joy that wine brings to my life. It is, and will always be, entirely, absolutely, categorically worth the risk.”

I think reinforce my earlier post on the topic. I’d rather have 80% of a life enjoyed to the full than 100% of a miserable one.


These are only Guidelines and you can do what you like. I only drink a bottle of wine a week for most weeks . I drink a bit more on holiday . I also sufferer from hypertension. Its recommended that i limit my alchohol consumption. I am not miserable on it. I am 74 and i would like to live into my 80s. I am taking reasonable precautions to give myself the best chance of having a long and happy life.
My life nearly ended at 66. I had a chest infection which deteriorated into Pneumonia . When they got me into hospital i was given a CT scan and it showed underneath the Pneumonia that i had a pulmonary embolism. The doctor asked if i have ever smoked. I had once . I once smoked a pipe and inhaled - not knowing that you dont inhale. The room went round and i was ill. Other pipesmokers said i should persevere. I thought that was daft and never smoked again. That decision saved my life.
Wine drinking is an enjoyable occupation. If you regularly exceed the guidelines you might still live to a ripe old age. Though you may still die of a cancer caused by excessive drinking. Statistically speaking if one drinks to excess then one is more likely to suffer from a serious disease. I know if you eat too much red meat or a whole list of other things that dangers exist . So i eat a balanced diet i walk at least 3 miles a day and i drink in moderation. I amhappy being that way and i lead a happy and interesting life. I dont do those things thinking this is good for me . I do them because i like doing them.


I find it interesting that we live in a world where alternative medicine and holistic therapies are so in vogue, yet so little importance or attention is paid to the effect alcohol can have on your spiritual wellbeing.


Also strange how some people fret about SO2 and pesticide residues in wine, but show no concern at all about the most harmful ingredient - alcohol.


Now that is cognitive dissonance par excellence! :+1:


Not sure it is, as some people may have specific adverse reactions to sulphur or other small residual chemicals. I think that we all have broadly the same reaction to alcohol! Good in moderate doses then not so good!

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This is true, however statistically a true sulphur allergy only affects around 2% of the population and they are far more likely to also be asthma suffers. Histamine reaction is far more likely with red wines.

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I think that is around 2% of those who (claim to?) have an adverse reaction - rather than 2% of the whole population. Anyway, it is very small. Same applies to other allergens like dairy and egg in wine.

But can anyone point to one case of pesticide residue in wine being proven to cause an adverse reaction? Contrast the recent fuss about minute traces of Roundup being found in wine, which MIGHT be a little carcinogenic, with around 15% of ethanol, which we KNOW is a carcinogen, and is implicated in breast and throat cancer?

I am not saying that we need to fear alcohol in wine, nor get too blasé about “chemicals”. Just that there is a need to get a sense of perspective about the relative risks. If the risk of cancer from Roundup in wine scares you, you really should not be drinking wine at all.


Ahhh, ‘perspective,’ so important in so many contexts and so often overshadowed by bias.

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Common Sense is another one of those basics we often forget, I feel. I have a real bugbear about it in my profession (counselling). Lots of hot air, lots of beautiful words and gestures - very little common sense.