Agenda item

Public Health Update - Diane Lee (Sac.12.02.2021/6)


Diane Lee, Head of Public Health, introduced the item by making Members aware of the Older People and Alcohol Toolkit developed by the Barnsley Alcohol Alliance.


It was noted that historically alcohol consumption declined with age, and the numbers of non-drinkers increased.  However, the current older generation are more likely to drink, with those aged over 55 more likely to exceed guidelines for consumption.  A number of factors were thought to contribute, including retirement, bereavement and loneliness.  In addition, drinking had increased during lockdown.


Those present heard of the three types of older drinkers:- Early Onset (survivors), Late-onset (reactors); and Intermittent (binge drinkers).  It was noted that hospital admissions due to alcohol consumption had increased due to such as cardiovascular diseases; cancer; liver disease; and slips, trips and falls.


The difficulty in discussing drinking was acknowledged and guidance on this was provided.  Members were made aware of Drink Coach support, including the app, which helped track units and calories consumed, and online coaching sessions.  It was noted that hard copies of the Older People and Alcohol Toolkit would be made available for distribution in the area, as would plastic glasses which served to highlight the size of measures and the alcohol content.


Members discussed the issue and the reasons behind increased consumption, which included more generous measures being poured when drinking at home and that alcohol is cheap, readily available and socially acceptable.


It was suggested that conversations could be started with residents through Sloppy Slippers events and through the Age UK provision in the area.


Questions were asked whether there would be a public health media campaign on this issue, and it was noted that one was being planned with the view to reducing the stigma associated with accessing support.



(i)           That thanks be given for the presentation;

(ii)          That Members agree to support conversations on the issue and promote the Older People and Alcohol Toolkit and Drink Coach resources.

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