Web chat opens for older adults with alcohol concerns

Support programme uses digital channel to make alcohol support services available to people in more parts of the UK.

James Hayes | 21st Aug 18
Image shows older adult drinking. A new web chat service will support over 50s with their concerns about alcohol consumption.

People aged over 50 who have concerns about their alcohol consumption can now get support from professionals trained to help older adults through a new web chat platform.

The new support is hosted and run by Drink Wise, Age Well, a National Lottery-funded programme led by charity Addaction that helps people aged 50+ to make healthier choices about alcohol consumption as they get older.

Drink Wise, Age Well operates in five ‘demonstration’ areas across the UK as its works to help reduce harmful drinking evident in an ageing population. The addition of web chat means that older adults living anywhere in the UK can now get personal, online support at a time that best suits them, the charity said.

The web chat service operates Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm; 6pm to 9pm; and 11am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. People can make an appointment to engage in real-time discussion with someone during these times by clicking on the ‘Book an appointment’ tab.

“In the UK, higher-risk drinking – above the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines – is declining in every other age group except the over-50s,” said Julie Breslin, Head at Drink Wise, Age Well. “As we age, life changes such as retirement, bereavement, or the children leaving home may leave some of us feeling more isolated and struggling to cope – which can lead to increased alcohol use.”

Breslin added: “Drink Wise, Age Well is offering online web chat to complement the face-to-face help and support they provide to older adults and their families in Glasgow, Sheffield, Devon, Cwm Taf University Health Board area and the Western Trust area in Northern Ireland… Over the past three years we have supported more than 85,000 people face-to-face, but there is demand for what we do in other parts of the country and web chat is a brilliant way to deliver convenient, confidential advice.”