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High Rates of At-Risk Drinking Among Elderly
34.7 percent of older adults were
at risk due to drinking alone;
More than a third of drinkers 60 years old and older consume amounts of alcohol that are excessive or that are potentially harmful in combination with certain diseases they may have or medications they may be taking.
Basing their research on data from 3,308 older patients accessing primary care clinics around Santa Barbara, California, the authors of the study report that just as many individuals were at risk from alcohol consumption in combination with comorbidities or medication as from alcohol consumption alone.
"Compared to the U.S. Census population over age 60, the sample studied was more likely to be white, married, well-educated and high-income," said lead study author Andrew Barnes, a researcher in the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public Health's department of health services.
The specific findings include: 34.7 percent (1,147) of older adults were at risk due to drinking alone or to drinking in combination with comorbidities or medications, and 19.5 percent fell into multiple risk categories. Of those at risk, 56.1 percent fell into at least two risk categories, and 31 percent fell into all three.
Participants who had not graduated from high school had 2.5 times the odds of at-risk drinking as those who had completed graduate school. Respondents with annual household incomes between $80,000 and $100,000 had 1.5 times the odds of being at-risk as those with incomes under $30,000.
Respondents who were 80 or older had half the odds of at-risk drinking as those between the ages of 60 and 64. Asians had less than half the odds of at-risk drinking as Caucasians.
Risk varied considerably, depending on patient characteristics. For example, a 62-year-old white male respondent who was married and had an annual household income of $90,000 was estimated to have a 57.1 percent adjusted probability of being an at-risk drinker, compared with an 8.1 percent adjusted probability for an 85-year-old Asian female patient who was widowed and had an annual income of $35,000.
The study does have some limitations, the researchers noted. For instance, it relied on patients' self-reported drinking frequency and quantity, so some participants may have been misclassified. Also, the sample was more likely to be white, married, well-educated and higher income than the over-60 U.S. population as a whole.
REHACARE.de; Source: University of California - Los Angeles
- More about the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) at www.ucla.edu
( Source: REHACARE.de )