Researchers at Newcastle and Sunderland have found older people should drink less alcohol or risk damaging their health. Their study suggests heavy drinking is more likely to cause long term problems for those over 65 years old.
Frances Read reports.
Many older people are drinking to a level that is having a long-term impact on their health, even if the damage they are doing is not always immediately apparent.
Alcohol interventions are not working for older people for many reasons. A lot of those we interviewed said the messages around alcohol were very confusing.
There is a need to develop new approaches to target the older population, for example longer in-home support, tailored information on the risks from alcohol in later life, or health workers with specific training on older people’s needs.
We also think the Government really needs to start looking at lowering the recommended limit for alcohol consumption in those over 65.
We support the call for clearer guidance and information to be made available in order for Older People to make informed choices about how much Alcohol they consume. Most of the people that approach us are not clear how the body reacts to alcohol as we get older or effects when combined with prescribed medications. GPs sometimes don't explain in detail some of these effects.
This research also shows it is important to have a range of social activities available for older people to alleviate social isolation and as additional support following bereavement or illness.We need to address the social as well as the medical issues this research highlights
Newcastle University academics have called for changes to the recommended safe levels of drinking for over 65s and for special alcohol advice to be made available for older people.
It follows research from Newcastle and Sunderland Universities looking at why many older people continue to drink to levels which are harmful to their health.
Current recommended safe levels of drinking are 14 units a week for women and 21 for men.
Heavy drinking in this age group is strongly linked with depression and anxiety and longer term health problems. Metabolism is slower in later life, and older people are very likely to take prescribed medicines that can interact with alcohol.
Pubs and bars in York could be charged a levy for late night opening. City councillors will decide whether to press ahead with public consultations on the scheme. It would affect bars which serve alcohol between midnight and 6am.
The proposal has been prompted by a change in the law. The money would be spent on night time policing and other measures to reduce anti-social behaviour.
We have all seen pictures of people who drink too much on nights out and end up causing problems.
Cities like Newcastle are famous for their nightlife, but the council is concerned about the high levels of drinking.
Newcastle City Council is asking bars and clubs to stop selling very cheap drinks and giving away alcohol on very cheap promotions.
It has also announced that it will not be letting new nightclubs stay open later than 2am.
Our reporter Lucy Taylor joined Pam and Ian in the studio to explain more.
Newcastle City Council has confirmed that it will stop new nightclubs and bars opening in the city from selling alcohol after two o'clock in the morning.
The move follows concern over the high levels of drinking in the city.
Young women and teenagers at risk of alcohol misuse will be helped by a new project which has received a £241,708 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
It is one of five projects across the region and 62 nationally to share a total of £14.9 million from the Reaching Communities programme.
Bright Futures will work with 720 young women aged 11 to 25 in South Tyneside by encouraging a shift in attitude and behaviour towards healthy choices and positive activities at weekends and evenings.
The project will educate young women on the effects of alcohol misuse, risks to sexual health and aims to reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
It will provide activities on evenings and weekends, when alcohol is being consumed on the streets, such as dancing, art, and cooking.
"Young people, particularly those from deprived areas, can misuse alcohol for a number of reasons - whether it is out of a lack of aspiration, little hope for the future or in a misguided attempt to relieve boredom in their lives.
"Bright Futures will steer young women in South Tyneside away from such risky behaviour and towards more positive activities to put them on a better path."
"This significant grant means that Bright Futures can now extend our reach across South Tyneside to make a real difference to the young women we will work with.
"Bright Futures has been working with a number of young women through our pilot project last year which was also funded by the Big Lottery Fund.
"This grant will enable us to offer young women in South Tyneside safe and interesting things to do on evenings and weekends, the opportunity to take part in accredited programmes of work and work with others in the community as well as improved access to education, training and employment."
The number of 'under-thirties' being admitted to hospital for alcohol-related liver disease in the North East has risen by 400% in the last 10 years.
In 2003, 23 people were admitted. But this year, 115 'under-thirties' were admitted with liver problems.