Janet’s story

Drink Wise, Age Well aims to help people make healthier choices about their drinking as they age.

For some people alcohol can have a positive impact on their lives as part of socialising and relaxation. Many of us will enjoy alcohol as we get older and not experience negative effects. We are living longer, and many of us will have active and independent lives well into old age. However, sometimes it’s easy to find that having a drink is becoming less of a pleasure and more of a habit.

Janet recently approached us about her drinking. Here is her story: 

I attended a talk about alcohol as we age delivered by Drink Wise, Age Well. I’d seen a few of their articles around in local community magazines, which had got me thinking about my drinking. I’d retired a few years ago and was really enjoying my retirement, but I did find that I had slipped into the habit of meeting friends in pubs for lunch and drinking wine, which may sound great but along with that lovely glass in the evening (and as I found out this was on the large side), I was starting to creep up to over 80 units a week.

I had a bit of a hunch that this might be having a negative effect on my mornings and feeling low. So I decided to be brave and gave one of the workers my email address. Drink Wise, Age Well emailed me that very day asking if I’d have a chat about the project and how I’d like to get involved.

A few days later I popped by Drink Wise, Age Well to chat to one of their workers, who explained their project and I spoke about my alcohol use. I immediately felt at ease and able to discuss the impact alcohol was having on me and the changes I would like to make. Really, I just wanted to try to cut out any negative effects.

Working alongside my worker Donna has been really easy and enjoyable, she has given me space to talk about things and guided me through the changes. I was expecting that it was going to be a lot more difficult than it was. After my first meeting I made some simple small changes which cut my drinking down, and over the last few weeks I’ve cut it down drastically.

It’s not that I was falling down drunk in the street, it was more that I was feeling low and slow in the mornings and wasn’t aware how much alcohol does have an effect on your mood.

It’s not that I was falling down drunk in the street, it was more that I was feeling low and slow in the mornings and wasn’t aware how much alcohol does have an effect on your mood.

My pattern would be a few glasses of wine with friends at lunch time and a few with my evening meal. These were larger glasses and I found out I was drinking around 12 units per day. From discussions with Donna I realised that by changing my glass size I could reduce my units to 6 per day, by switching from wine to gin and tonic, I could reduce my units to 4 units per day. So from 84 units per week to 28 units by some simple changes… Throw in some drink free days it’s down to 16 units. All at my own pace and no pressure.

What I would say to others is;

“it’s not as scary as I’d built up in my mind, I felt at ease from working alongside Donna and I’m really enjoying the process.”

“It made me aware of some of habits I’d fallen into since retirement. Drink Wise, Age Well gave me the opportunity to make some changes, on reflection my drinking may have been higher than I had realised before I retired, it’s just now I’ve more time on my hands”.

“’I’ve started looking at other options, from drink types and sizes, really simple changes but really feeling the benefits in feeling more positive in morning, a spring in my step, I’ve a few more steps to go to reach my goals, but working alongside Donna I’ve got the help and support”

If you would like to speak to someone about your own or a loved one’s drinking, Drink Wise, Age Well offers advice and support for people in Sheffield aged over 50.

Do you want to get out and meet new people, find new interests and share the things that are already important to you?  We offer a range of events, courses and activities locally to interest you, such as exercise, cooking and arts classes, hobby workshops or courses to help you get the most out of life.