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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Financial pressures driving some older Americans to drink...

Some older adults may turn to alcohol or cigarettes as a way to cope with financial stress, particularly men and people with less education, a new study suggests.

In the study, researchers surveyed 2,300 older Americans periodically between 1992 and 2006, and found that 16 percent reported growing financial strain over that time, 3 percent reported increases in heavy drinking (more than 30 drinks a month), and 1 percent said they'd started smoking more.

The youngest of the study participants were age 65 when the study began.

Older men who faced increasing financial stress were 30 percent more likely to become heavy drinkers than those who remained financially stable. This increased risk was similar for older adults with lower levels of education compared to those with more education.

Older women and seniors with higher levels of education tended to reduce their drinking when they encountered financial struggles, according to the study published in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The findings don't actually show that financial problems were the reason for changes in smoking and drinking habits, but it is known that some people use alcohol and tobacco as a way of coping with stress, noted lead researcher Benjamin A. Shaw of the State University of New York at Albany.

"When you have a stressor that's not very controllable, people may focus on something to help control their emotional response to the stressor," he said in a journal news release.

Financial woes may be particularly stressful for older adults, Shaw added.

"They are out of the workforce, and they might feel like they have less time to recover or generally have less control over their financial situation," he explained

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