Oct 16

Is the Party over for the Baby Boomer Generation?

According to a new report issued this month by the UK charity, Alcohol Concern, the baby boom generation are the greatest burden on the National Health Service compared to all other age groups.

The figures reveal the costs for the treatment of alcohol related illnesses in the 55-74 age group, (often called the “baby boom generation”), is over ten times greater than the 16-24 age group.

Commenting on the results, Alcohol Concern Chief Executive Eric Appleby said: “It is the common perception that young people are responsible for the increasing cost of alcohol misuse, but our findings show that in reality this is not the case. It is the middle-aged and often middle class drinker, regularly drinking above recommended limits, who are actually requiring complex and expensive NHS care.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, President of the British Gastroenterology Society and former President of the Royal College of Physicians said: “It is the unwitting chronic middle-aged drinkers who are taking serious risks with their health. They present in hospital with conditions attributable to their alcohol consumption such as stroke, heart disease, cancer and liver disease. People simply do not realise that chronic drinking significantly increases their chances of suffering health problems.

Of course, not untypically, other areas of the press have been quick to highlight potential flaws in the research, such as the fact that the younger age group spans only 8 years, whereas the older age group spans 19 years, and the fact that there are probably a lot more people in the older age group (hence being called the baby boom!). This was humorously noted by one correspondent with the headline, “Older people get sick more often than younger people – shock horror!!”

However, regardless of the stats, or however people may use them to support their own particular agenda, anyone who has been drinking heavily for a prolonged period of time will acknowledge that the damage is cumulative – and sooner or later it all adds up…

For those of us who have continued to party far longer than we should have, and partied far beyond the levels that we know are safe and reasonable for both our physical and mental wellbeing, the prospect of paying the price as we enter the final third of our lives comes as no surprise.

So whilst it may be easy to find a few convenient “flaws” in this report, and to justify “business as usual” in the party department, it may also be wise to take heed of what we already know – that for every action we take or don’t take there are always consequences; as we sow, so shall we reap, and that at the end of the day, everything counts.

The baby boomer generation have had a great run – born into a world of unprecedented personal freedoms and unparalleled opportunity… But the clock is ticking and the numbers are beginning to stack up. And maybe it really is time to call “time” on the party…


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