Call for businesses to support their over 50s workers with alcohol choices

Drink Wise, Age Well is calling on businesses to make sure they are supporting their older employees with alcohol choices. Over the past 30 years, the employment rate for people aged 50-64 has grown from 55.4% to 70.7%, and the number of over 65s in work has also doubled from 4.9% to 10.7%. Drink Wise, Age Well is sending out an Employer’s Toolkit to offer guidance on how to raise awareness within a workforce and offering training courses.

The initiative is part of Responsible Business Week, (24–28 April), the high-profile annual campaign to raise public awareness of business as a force for good in society.

Drink Wise, Age Well is a Big Lottery funded project which supports people to make healthier choices about drinking as they age.

The toolkit brings together information, activities and advice designed to support the wellbeing of employees as they get older and in turn prevent alcohol from negatively affecting their work and home life.

It is targeted at employers, line managers, Human Resources, Occupational Health and Trade Union representatives, and provides a wide range of alcohol awareness information intended for sharing with the whole work force.

Drink Wise, Age Well locality manager for Sheffield, Emma Wells said: “As we get older our bodies change. This means we may be at increased risk of harm from alcohol even when drinking within recommended limits, especially if we have any health conditions or are on medication.

“As we age, we all face life changing events, such as changes at work, children leaving home, changes to our health or retirement. Many of us may see alcohol as a way to relax each day.

“Consuming alcohol on a regular basis, especially if we are drinking more than we realise, can start to have an impact on, not just our home lives, but our work lives too. Learning more about how much we are drinking can help us keep an eye out for some of the potential problems and enable us to stay healthier at work for longer.”

In the UK lost productivity due to alcohol has been estimated at about £7.3bn per year. A 2007 study which surveyed UK employees, highlights the harm alcohol can cause for employers. The results are as follows:

  • A third of employees admitted to having attended to work with a hangover.
  • 15% reported having been drunk at work.
  • 1 in 10 reported hangovers at work once a month; 1 in 20 once a week.

In a recent Drink Wise, Age Well study, 20% of surveyed adults aged over 50 who said they drink do so at increasing risk or higher risk levels, meaning if they continue to do so they may be at significant risk of harm. Alcohol related hospital admissions and alcohol related deaths are highest in the older population (age 55-64 years).

Drink Wise, Age Well Sheffield is also offering businesses in the county a six session resilience course called Live Wise, Age Well.

Live Wise, Age Well provides life and coping skills in a relaxed group environment while addressing the subject of how alcohol and other negative behaviours can affect a person’s resilience.

Run by Business in the Community, Responsible Business Week puts the spotlight on how businesses of all sizes are making a difference, changing lives and improving communities across the UK and aims to inspire many more businesses to take action.

Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive of Business in the Community said:  “Responsible Business Week is a moment to reflect and be inspired by what business is doing to provide much needed help and support in our communities. We want UK companies to be the best in the world at responsible business, so by creating a space to share ideas and success stories we hope many more companies will help transform the way business is done.”

To find out more about Responsible Business Week 2017 visit or search for the hashtag #RBWeek.

To find out more about Drink Wise, Age Well, visit

Read the Easing the transition: older adults and the labour market’ report



Notes to Editors


  • To find out more contact Communications Manager Nancy McLardie on or 07583133294.
  • DRINK WISE AGE WELL is a Big Lottery funded partnership programme helping people making healthier choices about alcohol as they age. It is a partnership of multiple organisations. Drink Wise, Age Well is made up of six strategic partners. Addaction is the lead partner and with Addiction NI and Drugs and Alcohol Charities Wales (DACW), they collectively have over 300 years’ experience in frontline alcohol service provision. This covers the entire UK and has helped to improve the lives of more than 10,000 people and their families. Within the partnership, Royal Voluntary Service provide expertise on ageing issues and is strengthened by the resource of 35,000 volunteers, some who will act as ‘peer educators’. The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is the leading policy experts in ageing and longevity, whilst the Substance Misuse and Ageing Research Team at the University of Bedfordshire is the UK Academic lead in substance misuse and ageing. Together the partnership has worked closely to develop and implement the Drink Wise Age Well Programme.
  • For more information about Responsible Business Week, or Business in the Community please contact: Alex Delaney 0207 566 8694.


About Responsible Business Week

Responsible Business Week (24-28 April 2017) is an annual campaign from the charity Business in the Community to champion responsible business. Behind every faceless corporation are real people, making a difference, improving society and changing lives through the business of doing business.

Responsible Business Week is a campaign to tell this story, raise the profile of the year-round contribution of businesses of all sizes and inspire more business to address the most pressing issues.

Business in the Community is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. Members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to building a fairer society and a more sustainable future.  It is a business-led, issue focused charity with more than 30 years’ experience of mobilising business.