Father w/dementia, won't give up drinking (long...)

denise54July 27, 2010

My 87 yr. old father has dementia and a drinking problem. We noticed in the past few years that he has been drinking alone, earlier and earlier in the day, hiding his glass in a cabinet, for instance. Two year ago we took him to a neurologist who bluntly asked him if he would give up alcohol to have a better quality of life. He said "No," very emphatically. So, as a result he is spiraling down faster and faster. He doesn't eat well, starts drinking around 2 or 3 PM every day and is passed out by 6:00PM. He then sleeps it off for a few hours and wakes up and announces it's time to get up. He sometimes forages in the refrigerator in the middle of the night. All this is making my mother depressed. We have frequently told Dad he will need to go to a "home" or "assisted living" if he keeps up this behavior. He's getting really bad now. My question....do you put an 87 yr old through de-tox?? Do you just move him to a facility and let Mom have some peace? She's been co-dependent for years, but lately she's asked for help. What to do? What to do?

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I don't know if they allow a person to drink in a care home, if they don't, put him in the hospital for detox and put him in a home from there. My sister's neighbor tried to kill his wife because he was terminal and he wanted to take her with him. He had dementia.

Also they need to do a division of assets. If they don't have much money she will get to keep it all including the income. In my state if you have less than $19,000 you get to keep it all and he goes on medicaid right away.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 8:30PM
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I doubt any nursing home or assisted living facility will take him before detox. They're not going to let him drink like he's doing now and will not be interested in managing the behaviors you've described. Strongly suspect that will have to come first.

"Drinking" is one thing. Drinking until passing out every day is waaay beyond that. This is more than just a "problem."

Item one better be to make sure his documents are in order. If they're not and he's not cooperative, you may want to consider conservatorship....that is a court declaration of incompetence which would mandate you or some other appointed individual would be granted authority over him. If the court determines he is competent, however, you're probably going to be worse off than before.

You've described a pretty tough nut. Is he really that hard to deal with? Is there no way into his head conversationally....even by way of confrontation with everyone he knows and loves? Any way to make him realize what a pain in the butt he's being?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 10:05AM
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This is a BIG problem with no easy solution. I suspect that his drinking has a lot to do with his age and a desire to get to the end as soon as possible. He has taken the view that the road to be traveled will be easier drunk rather than sober. I tend to agree with him. As they say, "old age isn't for sissies." He's going with a slow suicide way of living.

But that doesn't solve your problem, does it!! I think that instead of detox, you need to look at the possibility of prescribed medication to ease the urge to drink until you can get him into a nursing home. Then they can load him up on as many pills as needed.

Is his doctor aware of the drinking problem? I think that's where your solution will lie. He won't do it himself and you can't make him. I really don't think that a regular de-tox program will work. He's going to need some other kind of help.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 3:22PM
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They can detox him in 6 days in the hospital. Alcoholics do not realize the full danger they are living with. They know the dangers of driving drunk, they know they can destroy their liver, but the one they don't think about is spending a week or two in the hospital without their alcohol. I know someone who went through double pneumonia and detox at the same time, she almost died. She told the hospital she only drank a little. When her and the whole bed started shaking the kids told the truth. She is left with big time memory loss and I don't know if she can function alone or not. She also was a smoker so that didn't help any. She was detoxed and after almost dying, she hasn't had a cigarette or a drink since. Talk about learning the hard way. She wanted to live, mainly for her granddaughter who is the light of her life. I am sure that would not work for this gentleman. He doesn't like his life and he drowns himself in booze to become unaware of it. I think the only place you can put him in is a mental ward.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 10:12AM
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you couldn't do much as long as she was willing to cover for him. Now that she's asked for help, get busy getting her some peace. They do have access-controlled units for seniors to go through de-tox. That was the first job I had back in 1984. Ask around, there is help for your Mom even if your Dad pushes to continue in his bad choices.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 9:53PM
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