My 83-year-old dad is out of control, drinking and now being abusive and fighting. I live out of town. What can I do?

I live in dallas and dad in Chicago. My dad's girlfriend, who is great, God bless her, just called me and said my Dad is out of control. His habits changed recently. He has started drinking at 10am, he used to wait till 5, he is pushing people and cussing them out for little stuff, like getting in his way. Two women were dancing and dad wanted to dance with one so he shoved the other women off the dance floor and began dancing with the other. My God, she just told me that one. He is no longer eating much she said.

I don't know who his doctor is, but will his doctor see me if I can find him? Will he discuss my dad with me. Dad has become very perinoid. So getting any info out of him is impossible. He barely talks to me on the phone anymore. Just for a few seconds at a time. He usually finds someone else to give the phone too when he is at the bar with is almost always now.

Again I am not there, which is a guilt trip. This can only end badly. But what can I do, I will only have a week, I need to have a plan before I go to make the most of my time.

What can I do from a distance. He will not come here and live with me. He is well known in his home town and everyone know him there. I can not move, I own a business here. My brother is there but he is no help, as he himself is a mess. He drives drunk all the time, he has wrecked his car before, he takes tons of sleeping pills, he has no short term memory to speak of.... What does one do?

I can get home for a week and am going to go as soon as possible, but a week is not enough. Help.

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Expert Answer
3930 helpful answers
The problem here is that with health care privacy laws, the doctor may not be able to talk to you unless your dad signed the papers that said you could do so. That's unlikely, from what you say, unless he did so long ago. You can check. His girlfriend may know the doctor.

This abrupt change could lead to more abusive behavior which could eventually include the police. The adult social services people in your dad's area could be helpful. It sounds as though alcohol may have kicked in alcoholic related dementia or some other dementia is figuring in (the abrupt change).
Don't guilt trip yourself. If you can, try attending Al-Anon meetings so you can help yourself get over that.

For now, you can try to get the name of the doctor and see if you can get help there. Is your dad a veteran? If so, the VA is used to dealing with alcohol problems with veterans and they could be very helpful. I'd call them if he qualifies for help through the VA.

Don't blame yourself. Tell your dad's girlfriend she needs to be careful for her own safety. If you have to involve the police, don't feel guilty. They may end up being the route to help.

Please try social services if you can't get help through the doctor or the VA. This is not your fault - please remember that.
Carol
Sounds like you father & brother could both be alchoholics. If
so your brother can't help. I am a recovering alchoholic, 37 yrs.
sober. AA can help your father,if he wants help. If he does not please
go to a local Alonon group .(Yellow pages under AA or Alanon). Y0ur
no. 1 problem right now is getting help for yourself if alchohol
is your fathers problem. they can help you, they have been
thru it. God Bless
cs
Yes, I had a similar issue with my Dad, but he was not drinking, just his dementia spiked and he was out of control and very verbally abusive to all of us and my Mom lives with him and I was afraid for her safety. This is what I did and it helped. I called the local Social Services dept. They came over (while I was there) and pretended to evaluate my Mom, while all along they were there to evalute him.Talk to the girlfirend and set this up! She can say she thinks her blood pressure is way high and invited a nurse to come over and see her. It will get them in the door and he doesn't need to know what is going on. Then, they can start to evaluate the problem. Hope this helps.
best of luck!

-SS

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