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My Mom is a retired professor who was diagnosed with dementia and possibly the beginning of Alzheimer's, 3 years ago. She also drinks a LOT of wine. I'm staying with her for a few months for 2 reasons: #1 My rent went up, my income went down, and I travel a lot for work, so I thought I'd camp out in the guestroom for a few months and get my finances in order. #2 To try and get things put back in order at her house - found a cleaning lady, yard man, and handyman. Still filing the hoards of paper, helping with finances and taxes, cooking, shopping, etc. I used to drive 3 hours back and forth to do this, 3-4 times a week. The dementia is challenging enough, but the 9-14 bottles of wine she drinks per week are just... depressing and crazy. I took her to a new GP last week who was appalled by the picture I showed him of 9 wine empty bottles over 5 days of drinking, and he told her she had to stop. That just pissed her off and she drank more. She was super upset that I "exposed" her to the Dr, because according to her, there is no problem. She's smart, slippery, combative, and obstinate. I am exhausted and feel I need to move out, but then feel guilty about leaving her in such a state. A friend of mine suggested that I leave her to sink to the lowest depths so maybe she'll do something about the drinking. How can a person with dementia do that? I love my Mom and want to protect her, but this situation is not healthy for me. What to do?

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photogoil, pay no attention to the man under the captain's hat. If you are aware of his history on this site he can often be kind of funny. And he has been a very caring and effective caregiver. But please just ignore him if he strikes you as offensive.
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Thank you, jeannegibbs and pamstegma. As for captain, not so helpful. I didn't come here for a lesson in semantics or to have anyone refer to my Mother as a "common drunk." The title for this group was "Support." Your comment was not supportive.
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I have not dealt with this. I know there are some on this board who have, and I'm sure you'll hear from experience.

I have dealt twice with dementia.The advice to let Mom sink to lowest depths might be sound in some situations, but it absolutely does not apply to someone with dementia. I promise you that. If you have to leave her for your own sanity, so be it. That is a valid reason, too. But it will not contribute to her eventual sobriety.

I'm not an expert, but it doesn't seem to me that quitting a long-term practice cold-turkey is a good strategy at this point. Could you buy smaller bottles, and gently try to reduce the drinking instead of eliminating it? If she got down to, say, 4-5 bottles a week, that would be an improvement, right? If some of them were substituted for a nonalcoholic wine-like beverage that would help, wouldn't it?

If Mom has had dementia for three years or more, she really should not be living on her own. If you do need to move out for your own sake (perfectly legitimate) please make arrangements for in-home help first. The cleaning and yard persons and handyman are awesome. Good for you! But she also needs someone to spend some time with her each day, perhaps to help her with meds, to see that she eats regularly, etc. Eventually she'll need 24 hour supervision, either at home or in a facility. But for now she may be able to get by a while longer with just some well-timed visiting help. (Or your help, of course, if you decide to stick it out a little longer.)

There is a wonderful book called "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" by therapist Pauline Boss, in which the concept of "Good Enough" is proposed. A perfect relationshp with your mother is never again going to be possible, and striving for it is frustrating to both of you. The relationship becomes more and more one-sided, with you doing most of the giving and she doing most of the receiving. You doing most of the making allowances and she needing lots of allowances made. Part of being a successful caregiver is learning to accept and embrace the "good enough" relationship. Maybe your mother will never stop drinking entirely.
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If she won't stop drinking, she may benefit from vitamin B1 thiamine shots or supplements. Alcohol can totally deplete B1 and brain damage (dementia) sets in. You can buy thiamine in any vitamin section or you can make sure she has it in her diet with serving whole grains, nuts, eggs, pork and peas.
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the " alcoholic " label is misused too much in this country . if youre ever confused about this just remember ; alcoholics go to meetings . anyone else is just a common drunk .
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