This article attempts to highlight the pressing need for social work to take more account of the existence of alcohol problems being experienced by many elderly people. Surveying the available sketchy data, it would appear that perhaps as many as 15% of elderly social work clients may have alcohol related problems. The article continues by considering whether a discernable pattern of elderly drinking is identifiable, concluding that the greatest problems relate to the severity rather than numbers having alcohol related problems, also coupled with an inability to access existing treatment services. Additionally, the article contends that there are ethical pitfalls in promoting interventions which rest upon stereotypical assumptions or purely technical considerations. In conclusion some of the main implications of the survey for social work practice are drawn out.
- alcohol, older people, social work