Working with older people with alcohol problems: insight from specialist substance misuse professionals and their service users
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractSignificant numbers of older people worldwide have a drinking level or pattern which places them at risk of harm. In England, older people are more likely to be admitted to hospital for an alcohol-related condition than younger people and levels of alcohol-related harm are increasing fastest in this population. Whilst alcohol problems in older people are highly treatable, they frequently go undetected or ignored. The aim of this study was to develop guidelines for health and social care workers on what intervention strategies are likely to work best with older drinkers. Insight from alcohol practitioners who specialise in working with older people and the perspectives of older people receiving alcohol treatment were gained through focus groups and individual interviews. This paper reports some of the key findings including a perception that health and social care workers often did not intervene when alcohol misuse was suspected because of ageist attitudes and false beliefs about older people's drinking. Participants however acknowledged that social workers faced difficult choices in relation to the ‘right’ of older people with alcohol problems to continue to drink and the ‘risk’ associated with them doing so. The implications for social work education and training are discussed.
CitationWadd, S., Galvani, S. (2014) 'Working with Older People with Alcohol Problems: Insight from Specialist Substance Misuse Professionals and their Service Users; Social Work Education, 33 (5):656-669
PublisherTaylor and Francis
JournalSocial Work Education