My 70-year-old father's drinking is causing major health issues, but he is refusing medical help. What can I do?

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My dad passed away on Jan. 22nd. He had for the last 4-5 years been drinking more and more. It was part of his dementia. Yes he had always been a social drinker (and I am not being naive about drinking). But he changed from openly drinking a beer or having a Jack Daniels and water to drinking Vodka. No one could easily look and tell what he had in his glass of "water". Unless you tasted it, you wouldn't know. For him, it was a matter of not being able to realize how much he was drinking and as people get older it does affect them differently. He was suddenly falling down or unable to get to his feet. Not knowing your father's habits, I can't give an easy answer. I know there were several times when my dad absolutely could not have a drink (surgical procedures, etc.) that it didn't bother him not to drink. It was more of a habit out of control. I guess I'm just saying, don't judge your dad without checking out all causes. It probably isn't his negligence as much as he honestly doesn't remember how much he has had.
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Recently I was told to be sure to have my Mom sign a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care so I can make safe decisions for my Mom is she is unable to do so for herself.
This was sound advice. Its more directed towards hospital or home care issues when more care is needed but it might cover your Dad's dringking which he doesnt seem able to deal with on his own. Good Luck! Anyone else?
Jan
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Unfortunately, everyone has the civil ight to make bad decisions. It is hard to watch a loved one deteriorate but he has the right to do so. In my area, unless someone is deemed incompetent by the court, he/she can do what they want to do even if it's not in their best interest. Adult Protective Services can intervene if someone is near death, otherwise they will try to assist them to make a change. A local Office on Aging may have a care management program that can send someone out to talk with him - or maybe AA can give you some direction. Going to an Al-Anon meeting may help you to cope with this situation. I'm sorry that there are not any easy answers.
Nancy
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You knew that his drinking would eventually do wear and tear on his physical body right? No one can smoke, drink, do drugs or eat uncontrollably forever and get away with it. Why not ask someone in the AA program what to do. It was my understanding that if someone doesn't want to stop with the vices mentioned above, they won't. I don't know how much control a family member really has. Sorry.
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