Alcohol misuse amongst older people

Incidents of alcohol-related illness, hospital admissions and mental health disorders have all increased in the older population. Alcohol represents a growing problem for older people, their families and carers and for public services.

The data shows that:

  • It is estimated that over 1.4 million (or over 14 per cent) of older men and women in the UK drink over safe limits
  • People aged over 65+ report the highest rates of drinking alcohol 5 or more days per week
  • In England in 2012/13 there were more admissions to hospital of people aged 65+ for alcohol-related injuries and illness than of 16 to 24 year olds200x160_pint_of_beer_main

Many of the factors that can influence alcohol intake are magnified in later life and mainly stem from social isolation and loneliness, which can be triggered by factors such as a bereavement, retirement or redundancy. Continue reading “Alcohol misuse amongst older people”

The importance of libraries in rural areas

This blog was contributed by Alan Wylie on behalf of Voices for the Library

Joan_reading_WEBLibraries are seen by many as a lifeline and a crucial public service, especially if you are elderly, socially isolated, poor, vulnerable, or all of the above.

In rural areas, the local library, along with the village hall, pub and shop, is the focal point of community life. It’s a safe, trusted place for meeting friends and neighbours, a place for learning, information and leisure and sometimes just a place to keep warm.

If a community is unfortunate enough not to have a static library, then mobile/housebound services fill the gap, helping those that are most isolated.

Let’s look at the data:

Continue reading “The importance of libraries in rural areas”

Rural living – a challenge for many of England’s older people

This blog was contributed by Alice Woudhuysen, Senior Campaigner at Age UK.

It’s a well-known fact that we live in a rapidly ageing society, to the extent that by 2083, about one in three people in the UK will be over 60 (ONS 2009).

Rural image 1This is, of course, a significant advancement and cause for celebration: longer lives represent progress and older people are big contributors to society.

Perhaps less well known is the fact that rural communities are ageing faster than their urban counterparts, with the number of people aged 85+ set to increase by 186 per cent by 2028 in rural areas, compared with just 149 per cent in the UK as a whole (Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion, for Cabinet Office, 2009). This is down to rising life expectancy, the outward migration of younger people to cities and the inward migration of people entering middle age to the countryside. Continue reading “Rural living – a challenge for many of England’s older people”

Go ON Give an Hour – Guest Blog By Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Champion

If you’re here, you know how to use the internet. But did you know there are still 5.7 million older people in the UK who’ve never made a free Skype call to a loved one, explored their interests or got a great deal online

In fact, in the UK the average household can save up to £560 a year by shopping and paying bills online and over 25 million people are already using Facebook to share photos and news with family and friends – and it’s entirely free.  This is just one of the ways that being online can combat the social isolation and loneliness experienced by 3.1 million people over 65 year olds who see a friend, relative or neighbour less than once a week (

If you’ve got a relation, friend or neighbour who is missing out on the internet, they’re missing out on loads of ways to make their life easier and more enjoyable. 

On the 30th October the clocks go back and we all have an extra hour. Imagine how exciting it would be if we all used this time to help someone get started online….

Together with partners such as Age UK, the BBC, UK online centres, Three, Mecca bingo and the Post Office we’re asking the 30 million people who use the internet everyday to use this hour to help someone they know get online. If no one you know needs help, why not volunteer at a local charity, care home or social club?

Get your guide to what to do in an hour, watch inspirational films as famous faces show how they use the web, and find further local support or places to volunteer by pledging an hour at

Age UK also have a range of guides, films and suggestions to support you as a digital champion  to share your IT skills with older people you know at

Remember, you don’t need to be an IT whizz to be a digital champ – the best thing to do is show someone how they can use technology to explore their hobbies and interests.  And, if the person you’re helping needs more time or knowledge than you can give, there are plenty of friendly places where they can get free or low cost help and support.

Martha and her Race Online 2012 team have been working with Age UK to help get the UK online since 2010.

Find out more about becoming an Age UK digital champion