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Older people’s alcohol use during COVID-19

Full title: Exploring older people’s support needs for making healthier decisions about alcohol during COVID-19

This project explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected older people’s alcohol use, and how they can be supported to make healthier decisions about their drinking during and after the pandemic.

This involves listening to older people’s experiences of their alcohol use during the pandemic, through interviews with a diverse group of older people.

We will also look at recorded webchats from Drink Wise Age Well‘s online support service, where older people have discussed concerns they have about their drinking with support staff.

In addition, we will analyse these data to understand how and why the pandemic has affected older people’s alcohol use, and consider ways to address increased alcohol use in public health and healthcare services.

We will also identify and examine evidence from around the world about how the pandemic has affected older people’s alcohol use, and needs for support to make healthier decisions.

We are supported in our research by our advisory group experts by experience, drawn from members of Voice and the Drink Wise Age Well advocacy group.


  • Understand how older people’s views and use of alcohol have changed during COVID-19, given how their day-to-day routines have been affected, and the stresses they might face.
  • Understand how older people’s motivations to engage in healthy or unhealthy drinking might have changed because of the pandemic.
  • Understand older people’s ideas about the support they might need to make healthier decisions for their alcohol use during and after COVID-19.

Policy relevance

Findings from this project will inform responses in public health and healthcare to prevent further alcohol-related harm amongst older populations, and associated demand from healthcare services.

This work will convey the best available evidence regarding the impact of the pandemic upon harmful drinking among older people, and the support older people need with their decisions about how they use alcohol during and after COVID-19.

Delivery timeline

1 February 2021 to 31 July 2021

Associated publications and resources


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