CNN Op-Ed "Too many quarantinis -- a risk, especially for seniors"

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

CAC researcher Esteban Calvo and CAC Faculty Research Fellow Kerry Keyes together with colleague Alvaro Castillo-Carniglia co-authored an Op-Ed on CNN based on their recent work. They showed that while much worry focuses on drinking by teens and young adults, evidence suggests that alcohol consumption may be increasing more quickly among seniors. This trend seems to be accelerating during the pandemic, with a jump in drinking frequency documented in those age 65 and older. People of all ages often turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism in the face of stress and uncertainty, although this self-medication strategy does more harm than good.

Further, these researchers found in a recent publication that adult alcohol consumption at advanced ages is largely explained by how much alcohol they can afford. Older adults tend to consume more frequently and greater quantities of alcohol well into their 80s, if they live in wealthier countries with lower alcohol prices, compared to their counterparts in less affluent countries.

In their opinion piece here, they cite the role of loneliness and isolation in why drinking frequency has increased. With the holidays upon us and the vaccine in sight, it is a perfect time to reflect on how to create opportunities for intergenerational connection as a society.

To read more about this work, please visit the Mailman School article here.