Drink Wise Age Well is a national lottery funded project. Its aim is to help people make healthier choices about alcohol as they age.

Drink Wise Age Well - We help people make healthier choices about alcohol as they age


The programme is delivered from 5 centres across Britain (Glasgow, Sheffield, Cwn Taf in Wales, Devon and the Western Trust areas in Northern Ireland). Along with local organisations and a team of volunteers, Drink Wise, Age Well offers:

  • awareness workshops and information stalls on alcohol and getting older
  • social activities, befriending and volunteering opportunities
  • training to support health and social care providers and community organisations to recognise and respond to individuals who may need help because of their drinking
  • group meetings that help you cope better and where you can get support from other people in similar positions
  • home visits and one-to-one advice and support for individuals and their families who may be experiencing difficulties due to their alcohol use
  • information and advice on how to make healthier choices about your drinking, if you don’t live in one of the above areas
  • helpful advice on what you can do to help if you’re worried about someone else.

to achieve the following objectives:

  • raise awareness of the issue of alcohol misuse among people over 50, change attitudes, combat stigmatisation, convey harm reduction messages and influence community norms about the use of alcohol
  • increase individual and community resilience to alcohol problems in people over 50 and also reduce hazardous, harmful and dependent drinking and related harm in this age group
  • increase the extent to which community service providers and employers who have regular contact with people over 50 are able to recognise and respond to risky drinking
  • disseminate a body of evidence on how to prevent alcohol misuse in people over 50 which will inform future prevention work in the UK and internationally


 HIC involvement in the project centred on supporting a UK wide study coordinated by University of Bedfordshire.  It involved HIC producing and sending over 76,000 questionnaire booklets to selected practice lists of patients aged 50 and over from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This was the largest survey of alcohol use in older adults to be carried out worldwide and the largest survey of alcohol use ever to be carried amongst NHS patients. 

 To achieve this HIC provided a full mailing service including all the materials required for the postal pack.  Each pack contained a covering letter, the questionnaire (additional Welsh language questionnaire provided for recipients in Wales) with a unique participant identifier, a multi-language helpline sheet and reply paid envelope.

 A follow up study, of the original respondents, will also be carried out in 2020.

The Results

76,342 questionnaires were sent out to 30 GP Practices across the 4 countries.   18,200 were returned, a response rate of 24%.  These returned questionnaires provided the baseline data for the evaluation. The data provided valuable evidence with which to develop, target and improve interventions whilst also helping to inform policy, strategy and service provision.


The Survey fed into project findings which were presented at the:

  • British Society of  Gerontology Conference,
  • European Public Health Conference,
  • Gerontology Society of America Conference
  • Australasian Professional Society of Alcohol and other Drugs Conference.

Project team



  • Sarah Wadd
  • Director Substance Misuse and Ageing Research Team, University of Bedfordshire
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