Who can help me?
How can I change my drinking habits?
Your reason for drinking and the effects that alcohol has on your body can begin to change as you age.
Many people over 50 report increased levels of stress due to changes in their life and circumstances. Some people find that they drink more alcohol when new problems arise, or to help with feeling lonely, having trouble sleeping, or to help them relax.
However, drinking alcohol can open up a lot more problems. It can have negative effects on health, both physically and emotionally, and it can cause people to become alienated from their friends and family. In short, it can often cause more problems than it solves.
The good news is that plenty of help is available for anyone who wants to change their drinking habits.
Is what I’m feeling normal? Is it easy to treat/address?
If you have made the decision to cut down on how much you are drinking, here are some simple starting points to help you as you go along.
- You can start by finding out how much you’re actually drinking by learning about units and how to stay within recommended guidelines. There are also tools and apps to help you keep track of this.
- Try having at least two alcohol-free days a week to give your body a break. This will also stop your body becoming used to alcohol and building up a ‘tolerance’.
- If you’re drinking at home it might help to get into the habit of using a unit measure to pour the right amounts, avoid topping up your drinks – or at the very least avoid those giant sized wine glasses.
- If you feel you need some additional tips to help you cut down we’ve prepared some simple extra steps for you to follow. However, if you have been drinking every day for some time we would advise you to speak to your GP or a health practitioner for advice on how to safely cut down.
There is more information on levels of risk with alcohol available if you wish to find out more.
Making changes is a positive step, but can be challenging to face alone. Keep reading for information on how to find the right person to talk to.
Who can I talk to about my drinking?
Starting a conversation about your drinking may feel a bit daunting, but you will find most people out there understand and want to help. Sometimes family and friends can be the best people to go to for support. If this isn’t an option for you, you can speak to your GP or health practitioner.
There is advice and support available in your local area if you want to speak to someone about alcohol.
Can Drink Wise Age Well offer me more support?
Drink Wise, Age Well can offer help and advice in five areas in the UK. Sheffield and Devon, Glasgow, Cwm Taf area in Wales and in Northern Ireland we provide services in the Western Trust area (Counties Derry, Fermanagh and Tyrone)
Drink Wise Age Well offers one-to-one and group support to help people make healthier choices about their alcohol use as they age. You can arrange to talk to us by phone, in your own home or in a community setting. We can also help you to connect with and talk to others with similar life experiences.
We have a range of activities and workshops. These can improve the way that you cope with stress and adversity and connect you to a wide range of events and activities with fellow over 50s.
If you don’t live in an area with an existing Drink Wise, Age Well program, you can speak to your GP or contact the alcohol helpline for your country.
Here are some numbers you can call for advice:
Drinkline (England and Northern Ireland) 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am – 8pm, weekends 11am – 4pm)
Drinksmarter (Scotland) 0800 7 314 314 (8am to 11pm, 7 days a week)
Drinkline Dan 24/7 (Wales) 0808 808 2234 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Confused by the new recommended guidelines? This infosheet might be able to help you cut back.Download PDF (132.8KB)
You can work out how many units there are in any drink by multiplying the total volume of a drink (in ml) by its ABV (which is measured as a percentage) and dividing the result by 1000. Use our guide to better understand what a unit actually looks like.Download PDF (113.5KB)
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