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Over 60s drinking at risky levels

Older Australians are drinking alcohol at risky levels and the wealthy are consuming more than most, according to new research.

La Trobe University’s Centre for Alcohol Policy Research conducted an analysis of 7976 Australians aged over 60 based on 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey data.

“In the current study, the odds of risky drinking increased alongside annual household income levels, with those in the higher income bracket more likely to be risky drinkers,” the report reads.

The highest proportion of risky drinkers was found in the highest income bracket at 31 per cent, while about 22 per cent of low-income participants drank at risky levels.

The wealthier over 60s who fell into the risky drinking category were in the highest income bracket of $128,388 to $217,048.

Overall, the majority had experienced some form of harm in a one year period, such as injury to self or others and feeling guilt or remorse.

“Approximately 54 per cent of risky drinkers experienced a negative outcome as a result of their drinking in the last year,” the report read.

The research found that 17 per cent of Australians over 60 are consuming more than the recommended amount of alcohol, as per current National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines.

The study also found 93 per cent of over 60s in the risky drinking category and 80 per cent of lower risk drinkers over 60 listed their homes as their most popular place to drink.

The report concluded interventions aimed at older drinkers need to focus beyond socio-economically disadvantaged groups, as is often the case.

It also states that self-moderation, controlling accessibility to take-away alcohol and increasing the awareness of the harms of drinking may help to reduce excessive alcohol consumption among older people.

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