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Dad's been an alcoholic his entire life. He is also blind due to macular degeneration. He lives alone in a small, subsidized apartment building in a different state from me. He constantly falls and has for years but he secretive about these falls, and has always rebounded. Last week he fell and was on the floor for at least a day, we're still not sure how long. His friend and neighbor was concerned and finally checked and found him. The EMTs had to force him into hospital, and because he wasn't cohererent and nobody had my number I didn't find out until the next day. From the hospital he was moved to a rehab facility thank god. He lied about the reason for the fall and did not tell the doctors about drinking - I did and he's been treated for anemia as well as the dehydration and being given thiamine and librium to treat the alcohol withdrawal and help him detox. He has several friends in the area who are all concerned about him and visit and call frequently. His two sisters are far away but extremely supportive and well aware of his drinking. Apart from the blindness he is in shockingly good health for his age. He has told me many times that he will never stop drinking and many times that he has "lived too long". I am terrified about what to do when he is released from rehab. I am not even sure at this point if his apartment building will allow him to continue living there as he's a danger to the other residents as he insists on cooking. He had a terrible bedbug infestation which I only found out about from the building management. He lied about cleaning the apartment, claiming he had a weekly helper when she only comes every few weeks when he has company. he doesn't see the dirt therefore it doesn't exist. He has refused to move nearer to me, and frankly I don't want the responsibility of caring for him and have other family to worry about. He also has very limited resources, although the VA has been helpful in the past and set him up with several weeks of vision loss coping training a few years ago. I feel like I'm out of options - I have found an assisted living facility that looks wonderful and may be affordable but he has already told his sisters he will refuse to go, because they won't allow him to drink. I don't know much about home health aides - I suppose if I found someone who would check in on him a couple of times a day it might work? He is determined to just drink until he expires. I hope that when he gets through this rehab he listens to reason but I don't have much hope. I'm feeling guilty, overwhelmed and not sure about what my responsibility is or what steps to take next. When he is sober, he is still an intelligent, caring, charming and thoughtful man but drunk he is a nightmare. I suppose this is more of a vent than a question! But I'd appreciate words of wisdom or support, and suggestions especially from anyone who has lived through a similar experience!

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I feel like your writing my story, pretty much dealing with the same thing. My father was recently sent home with home healthcare and he declined it. His situation is not safe and someone called APS on him....which really didn't do anything. I also am finding out that I can't force him to move somewhere safer (also live in diff state). So I don't have advice, just sharing that I completely understand.
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Reply to Figuringitout
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I'd just let him drink. It's his decision if he has capacity.
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Reply to Bobby7
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Thank you! This helps. Yes, my mom is in an assisted living residence that has a pub! (they're long divorced). Maybe telling him that they actually serve drinks will help me convince him this is a good move, even if I know that they won't be serving him the quantity he wants! I set up meals on wheels for him during the pandemic - he turned away more than he accepted, claiming he was just not hungry and did not want to waste food. Thank you for reminding me that there's nothing I can really do - sometimes just hearing that again is a comfort.
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Reply to LisaTorres
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You don't make any mention of dementia so I'm assuming he doesn't have it and that's good. It certainly makes things more manageable because he can still think coherently when he's sober.
No one at 90 years old should be forced to quit anything. Not smoking, drinking, or whatever. At his age he's at the end of his life and doesn't fear it. He accepts it.
You're not responsible for him no matter what anyone tells you.
Try reasoning with him when he's sober though. Tell him plainly that if he's allowed to return to his apartment (which might not be possible) he must accept daily aide care coming to his house who will report to you directly every week. No exceptions. Make him understand that if he refuses help and doesn't cooperate the state will place him in a care facility against his will, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them. Make him understand this the best you can.
Set up his daily aide care. Make sure they're willing to cook for him and make sure he has extra meals prepped in the fridge too. Then take a step back. It's all you can do. Either he will work with them or he'll end up in a facility. Whatever happens it not your fault and at least you'll know you tried.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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LisaTorres Jul 10, 2021
This is exactly what I needed to hear/read. THANK YOU. I'm looking forward to having a sober discussion with him, but also dreading it. Wish me success!
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You say that you're not sure what your responsibility is regarding your father. Well let me tell you. Your father is not nor ever was your responsibility. He has made his choices in his life and now he is living with them. If he wants to continue to drink when he gets out of rehab, there's not a darn thing you can do to stop him. Since he's wanting to die anyway, his drinking is probably his way of trying to kill himself. And eventually it will do just that.
As long as folks around him continue to enable him, he will never change. Just make sure that you are not one of the enablers. You need to take care of yourself, and be grateful that you live states away. I would recommend that you start going to Al-Anon meetings if you already haven't. They are very helpful, and will give you a more healthy view as how to deal with your alcoholic father.
Your father more than likely needs to be placed in a nursing facility, as there are not many home health agencies that will tolerate a drunk patient. You may want to talk to the social worker at the rehab facility, and explain the situation, and let them help find the right place for your father. Best wishes.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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LisaTorres Jul 10, 2021
THANK YOU this is practical and comforting advice.
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The only one that can stop him from drinking is your dad. And he said he is not going to stop. So sad to say you have to accept that.
If he is allowed back into his apartment ask if his stove and oven can be disabled so the only thing he can use is a microwave.
If you can arrange (dad pays) for someone to come in daily and check on him that would be a way to monitor what is going on.
Meals on Wheels might be an option. That would provide meals as well as another person checking in on him.
You have done nothing to feel guilty for or about. It is he that should feel guilty for putting family through this but Addicts seem to not have a "guilt trigger" in their brain.
Do what you can but prepare for the call that will come one day that he has fallen or that he drank himself to death.
If he will take to non alcoholic beer it might be possible that the Assisted Living place might be an option. (It is odd though most of the AL facilities I have visited actually have a little bar, game room that is usually open several hours a night. )
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Bobby7 Jul 10, 2021
Good advice about microwave only.
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