Sweden: Alcohol consumption and alcohol-related injuries are increasing among the elderly

Elderly people in Sweden drink more than before. At the same time, the number of alcohol-related injuries among the elderly is increasing, since sensitivity to alcohol and the risk of injuries and diseases rise with age. This is shown by a new report from bodies including the University of Gothenburg, which also establishes that there is no truth in the common conception that moderate alcohol consumption could be beneficial.

The report Alkohol och äldre (“Alcohol and older people”) was written by group of prominent alcohol researchers who have reviewed a large number of international studies on alcohol linked to health. The report addresses the growing sensitivity to the effects of alcohol among the elderly, which – in combination with ageing – increases the risk of diseases and accidents, even in the case of relatively low consumption.

The main reasons for elderly people’s heightened sensitivity to the immediate and long-term effects of alcohol include physiological and bodily changes, as well as medical factors.

The report Alkohol och äldre (“Alcohol and older people”) is part of the Alcohol and Society series, which aims to illustrate in a scientific manner the effects of alcohol consumption on individuals and society. The series is published by the Swedish Society of Medicine, the Swedish Society of Nursing, the Responsibility for the Future Foundation, IOGT-NTO and the Center for Education and Research on Addiction (CERA) at the University of Gothenburg.

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The report in English can be downloaded from CERA’s website.