Alcohol, depression and stopped eating. How long will she last?

Follow
Share

Mom has been devastated since dad passed 3 years ago. She is blind, has never been alone in her life and as an only child who works full time and has kids at home, i do my best but i just cant replace her companion. She currently is on hospice, more for me than herself. She has become a severe alcoholic (about a fifth a day). we quit enabling her after she detoxed while in the hospital for ulcer bleeding, but she manages to call a cab weekly. her depression has become very severe and she refuses to admit she ever has more than '1 drink a night'. we have tried anti depressants, everything. Hospice is there 5 days a week, I am there every lunch hour and 1/2 day saturdays. it is never enough. On top of everything and made worse by her drinking, her dementia is terrible. the last week or so, she has basically stopped eating altogether and only drinks. She is usually passed out or totally incoherent from the alcohol by noon and just cries and wants to die. she has a dnr and the hospice people say that detox at this point would probably kill her. (Besides she refuses to stop). I am losing my sanity (lost) my health is suffering and watching her suffer is killing me. (I have already had 2 TIA's in the past 7 months) My question now is, how long can an 82 year old basically physically healthy 120 lb woman last on alcohol alone? (she has lost 30 lbs in the past 4 months) hospice was brought in when she starting bleeding top and bottom almost 2 months ago and refused treatment)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
15

Answers

Show:
hi a aroman1 I know how I feel my mam is the same on only went back into hospital tonight it's hard I understand but I had to learn that she can only change herself ,my mother will never change but I can Change myself and that what I am doing , as hard as it is to say this please don't stop living your life because of yr mum yr life is just as important as herself
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Just an update- mom quit drinking herself 1 week ago or so didn't know about that til today. Withdrawals get worse every time. Hospice said she should have a drink, it would be better for her and she refused. Said maybe tomorrow. She can barely stand from the muscle weakness, is imagining things (told my daughter I was giving her "the most hate filled looks" even though she is blind and cant see my face if I were 2 inches from her) she still only eats yogurt and a boost. I figured she hadn't had a drink by how mean she was this week- going so far as to tell me that if she couldn't have a decent life, then I don't deserve one either. (wow mom- thanks!) Hospice does all that they can, and even though they have repeatedly explained to her that she is sick and weak due to the lack of nutrition and the alcohol, she still believes we are lying to her. She also is extra angry with me because I should be more compassionate and worried about her. She doesn't get that I cant show more concern other than to tell her im sorry she doesn't feel well and hope she feels better because if I bring up the reasons she feels so lousy she throws a fit and kicks me out for my lies. I really am at a loss anymore. and I apologize- not really looking for an answer, just really needed to vent! Thanks for reading!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Sometimes, I have a hard time with the fact that our medical system lets people suicide without really intervening...as long as they do it slowly enough. From your last post I can see how it snowballed - she felt sad, she turned to alcohol, alcohol is a depressant and made her worse.. and so on. You can live on just yogurt and fluids for a while. I hope it turns out there is more that can be done, and if there is or if there isn't, that you find your own peace and sanity again, soonest!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

What do the Hospice workers say about her condition?

Is sounds like a horrible thing to have to do every day. Is it possible for you to pay someone to take in the food, walk and feed the dog, etc.? That way you can limit your contact. Maybe, just call to say hello. You can say you can't take it anymore. I think that is reasonable.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you vstefans. We have discussed that option, however, if she cannot take her dogs with her, she is threatening suicide. She now is having all the symptoms of potassium and other deficits, (muscle spasms, temporary paralysis) and will not take meds. Since she has a dnr, we cannot force the meds on her. She wants to die plain and simple. She does drink 1 boost and eats 1 yogurt. other than that, she will only eat a spoonful or two of food and an occasional apple. Alcohol is her life, and she will not stop, even with the daily vomiting and diarrhea and claiming she understands WHY she is sick. Everytime I explain the reason and tell her she needs to eat more, she just tells me she has no appetite. We go over it all the time and she understands, but in the next breath tells us she is going to take a cab to get her alcohol again. it is so frustrating. Financially, we cannot afford a nursing home for long, but mentally- I don't know how much longer I can deal with taking care of her.....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If she went into care and was allowed alcohol to avoid trying to detox, they might be able to make sure she got nourishment too and might have some control over how much alcohol. Besides the potassium, thiamine is critical to prevent Wernicke encephalopathy (which could look exactly like dementia or at least memory getting far worse far faster.) It probably hurts to swallow solid foods too - would she accept some Boost or Boost puddings or anything like that? If she cannot take care of herself, and she is clearly disoriented and demented, she is a candidate for guardianship and that might not be a bad thing for her. I say that not knowing what you can afford either financially or physically in terms of your own health.

Years and years ago, I had a patient, an older man with long term alcohol abuse, and he came in to the hospital with GI and neurologic complications that were more and less reversible, respectively. So he became a ward of the state, and the SW got him into appropriate long-term residential care - she was very complimentary of me because I put "acute hepatitis with encephalopathy" rather than "alcoholic hepatitis" which might have disqualified him. I heard second hand that he did well there for some time afterwards. If there is a way to intervene, absolutely go for it, and if you can't do much, it will be sad and unfortunate, but not your fault.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Just an update- Spent the weekend with mom. She has been vomiting blood for almost 2 months now. She cannot understand that the lack of food and drinking everyday is what causes her to be 'sick' all the time. it is so frustrating and sad. (and hard to always remember that it is the dementia that has made logic leave her mind) I hate to even spend time with her I am so angry that she is doing this to herself. Just a depressing weekend and needed to vent.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Affairs are all in order Amy. My father set all that up before he passed luckily. (Morbid doesn't play into it- it is a fact of life and always good to prepare long before you HAVE to deal with it!) Thank you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Bless you aroman1, and hugs and prayers go your way. Depression, dementia and alcoholism are each a disease and your mom has all three. Its sad how common alcoholism is. I understand how hard it is as my ex was one, so was my uncle, and my neighbor. All died fairly young. With the amount your mom is drinking it doesn't sound like she is going to live another year, especially if she is having internal bleeding already. It could be any time but its hard to tell without a doctor evaluating her, and her liver. Its amazing but I've read that people can live with almost their entire liver gone (for a short while). You are doing all you can to keep her comfortable and take care of her needs.
Not to sound morbid, but it might be a good idea to start preparations, make burial arrangements, clear the house somewhat (if she won't notice) because you know she is not going to live very long, and doing all that after the fact is very difficult. Make sure she has a will also so you an handle her affairs. I don't know where you live, but if it is in NY, it is a nightmare to settle estates without a will.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you. I know that when she did detox before (October) they kept her in the hospital for exactly that reason. (potassium) I forgot about that.
All I can say is thanks for the support and info- this is so very hard..........
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions