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9% of Elders Drink Alcohol on a Daily Basis, According to Datafolha Survey

01/22/2018 - 10h52

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CLÁUDIA COLLUCCI
ANA ESTELA DE SOUSA PINTO
FROM SÃO PAULO

A subject surrounded by taboos is alcohol consumption among elders. It is both a social issue and a health issue that often isn't contemplated by public policies which, for the most part, are directed at younger consumers.

A recent Datafolha survey revealed that almost one in every 10 elderly men (9%) consumes alcohol on a daily basis - about 5 times the national average (2%) and twice the amount of alcoholics (4%).

Among elderly women, 81% do not drink - on average, 57% of elderly people do not drink. This corroborates the thesis that women tend to be less exposed to alcohol when compared to men: while 63% of women across the age spectrum do not drink, merely 6% of men are abstinent.

Alcoholism has a major impact on the nervous, cardiovascular, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems.

When combined with tobacco or tranquilizers, a common scenario among the elderly, then the damage tends to be greater due to the rise in potentially deleterious effects, according to Ana Cecília Marques, a psychiatrist and professor at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp).

In her opinion, elderly alcoholics are "invisible patients" who often take a liking to alcohol after retirement, divorce or losing their spouses.

Paulo Olzon, a general practitioner, agrees that loneliness, the death of friends and relatives, and the lack of stability that typically ensues, are significant triggers of alcoholism among the elderly.

However, he also believes that there's little doctors can do when patients refuse help. "Elders rarely admit they have a drinking issue. They think they have alcohol under control. But the days when doctors played the role of fathers are gone."

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

Read the article in the original language

Rivaldo Gomes - 30.mai.2012/Folhapress
A Datafolha survey revealed that almost one in every 10 elderly men (9%) consumes alcohol on a daily basis
A Datafolha survey revealed that almost one in every 10 elderly men (9%) consumes alcohol on a daily basis

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