Older adult consumption in Holland Research from the Trimbos Institute shows that in Holland among the 55-70 age group, 21.2% drink alcohol moderately and 6.7% excessively. These percentages are much higher than the 23-54 age group which reports 13.7% and 3.8% respectively. 13.1% of people age 55 and over binge drink at least monthly.
Excessive alcohol consumption is defined in the report as more than 14 glasses on average per week for women and over 21 glasses for men. Over the period 1992-2012, excessive alcohol consumption among 55-65 year olds increased sharply . It then decreased to previous levels for men, but remained relatively high in women. Moderate alcohol consumption among 55-65 year-olds increased throughout the period.
The research used various sources: population studies Dutch Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 (NEMESIS-2) and Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) and the GP’s Nivel Care Registrations first line. Additional data were collected using a questionnaire and telephone interviews under the National Older Fund’s Senior Panel and group interviews with care professionals and face-toface interviews with elderly people in the specialised addiction care.
55-pluses tend to drink less as they get older, but often the opposite happens in 55-year-olds who are already drinking excessively. Their drinking tends to increase further.
The study found that a large proportion of the 55- plus people were not aware that alcohol is addictive and that excessive use is not good for health. The majority of the 55-plus participants thought that the norm for responsible alcohol use is two glasses a day. With increasing age, participants were less likely to be aware of the current standards for responsible alcohol use. 55-year-olds who drink excessive are more often single, smoke often, have relatively high incomes, have little physical activity and more often have an anxiety disorder.
The reasons given for drinking included: relaxation, sociability, good, positive associations with alcohol, loneliness, poor structure (eg retirement, a lot of free time), the presence of stress factors (loss of income, loss of work, physical illness), habits and companionship of others.