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Financial Stress May Lead Older Adults to Drink and Smoke More

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Financial stress may lead older adults to drink and smoke more, according to a study of more than 2,300 adults over the age of 65. Men and people with less education appear to be most likely to drink and smoke in response to money worries, according to ABC News.

Between 1992 and 2006, the researchers found 16 percent of study participants had increasing financial problems. Three percent of participants reported increases in heavy alcohol consumption (more than 30 drinks a month), while one percent said they smoked more during this period.

Men who had financial concerns were 30 percent more likely to begin drinking heavily, compared with men without money worries. Women, and those with higher education levels, were more likely to reduce their drinking when they were troubled about finances.

“If the current global financial crisis leads to increases in experiences of financial strain among older adults, alcohol and smoking problems can also be expected to increase in this population,” the researchers write in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Financial problems can be particularly stressful for older adults, lead author Benjamin Shaw said in a news release. “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.”

1 Response to this article

  1. Avatar of caregiver
    caregiver / February 12, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Recognizing that the stress you are experiencing can sometimes lead to depression is the first step to preventing it — and burnout. To take that step, talk about your feelings, frustrations, and fears with the palliative care team’s social worker or mental health professional. Talking helps you understand what’s going on for you and for the person in your care. It helps you come to grips with the fact that you are not in total control of the situation.

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