As a nation we're drinking more year on year

As a nation we're drinking more year on year

and the over 60s are very much part of that.

They're not normally the people we see

in inner cities on a Saturday night binge-drinking,

but if older people do over-imbibe

they are more at risk of falls and so on.

Yes, when I can get it I love a drink.

Only on special occasions. I might have half a glass of wine.

Champagne I'm not a lover of.

When we were bringing up children we didn't seem to have much money,

so now I like a little tiny glass of sherry at night.

I know it's looked upon as an old-fashioned drink, but I like it.

I've tried others and this one I like.

I prefer shandy, half a beer, half a lemonade.

For years I drank gin and bitter lemon

and then suddenly I tried a Smirnoff Ice and I love them.

But I have to have a whole glass of ice in them.

I have a Guinness but that's only perhaps every other night,

if I fancy a drink, but a Guinness is good for you.

And then I top it up with tonic water.

I suppose we do drink a bit more alcohol.

We have a bit more money now

and we have more time, probably.

I think it's important to remember that older people may be more susceptible

to falling into the habit of drinking more than they ought to.

Several reasons, one is they're often retired,

have more time, more disposable income

and may get into a pattern of drinking more often during the week,

more than they would have done when they had to think about work.

As people's bodies get older they don't repair themselves so easily,

so any side effect of alcohol is likely to be more marked when people are older.

I think when they lose a partner they seem to drink a bit more to forget.

The last time I got drunk was when my husband was buried.

Oh, dear. The day after is worse.

But at the time it suited me, at that particular time.

Situations like bereavement arise where alcohol can be used as a crutch

and although it may help someone to get a night's sleep

or forget a worry for a day or two,

if alcohol is used in that way repeatedly

then there is a real risk of dependence.

I never drink indoors.

I've got drink there but I'd never go down that path.

I don't like drinking indoors. I like the ambience of a pub.

I like the atmosphere of being out, you know.

Not drinking indoors, no.

Tea. Tea, but not drink.

We don't go to pubs or clubs, actually,

though we like to have a drink with friends when they come to call.

It's nice to have a drink but I stick at one, usually.

My mother was a drinker and it rather put me off.

The side effects of alcohol misuse

can be divided into the acute ones, the immediate ones from getting drunk,

and the longer-term health consequences.

The biggest one and the one that people know about is cirrhosis of the liver.

Not everyone who drinks heavily gets cirrhosis of the liver.

It probably takes about five years of heavy drinking

to run into serious health problems,

but people in their early 60s could still shorten their life.

There's hardly a part of the body that isn't affected by alcohol,

but there is a link between alcohol misuse and dementia.

If I'm sitting down, two's my limit,

but if I can go to a party I can drink just as much as a young one

because you're dancing and sweating it off.

But two drinks when I'm sitting down.

You need to drink to be a bit merry, I think.

It makes people smile.

Moderate drinking undoubtedly has benefits.

There are some physical benefits but there are also social benefits.

It is a social lubricant, it can make a celebration enjoyable,

but it's also important that it doesn't become central to every celebration.

I don't know if it loosens your tongues,

but it makes the whole occasion, the meal out together with friends,

it makes it more fun.

I think alcohol in moderation is acceptable and is probably good for you,

so yes, we do take alcohol, in moderation.

Alcohol in moderation is not harmful.

That said, I wouldn't recommend a man of 95

to go out and have 21 units in one night.

He would almost certainly come to harm.

My mother's still alive and she's 92 and a half

and she just drinks a bit of Dubonnet

and she drinks red wine with her meal

and I'm not a bit worried about her.

Be careful. Don't over-excess it. Too much. It is a danger.

I don't think it hurts you.

I suppose it gives you a bit of a buzz and sometimes a bit of confidence.

A very sociable thing to do, so long as you don't imbibe too much.