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She drinks it at night when she takes her sleeping pill.
Pt does not show any signs of impairment and states that it just helps her to sleep. She still drives to the grocery/liquor store just around the corner from her home but does so infrequently. Her son is going to try to take away her car keys. This pt is in very good health other than recouperating from a small back surgery that was needed due to a fall. Son (who lives out of state) tells me she has had 2 falls in past couple of months and wonders if they were alcohol related. Pt does not use any aids for ambulation. I am being hired on this week as her caregiver only for 1 hour twice a week. Pt is resistant to having a caregiver come in as she is very independant. Is it ok that she have a little vodka at bedtime with her sleeping pill?

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Medically, it's probably not okay to have the vodka with the medication.

Practically? I'd say that if that's what she wants she should have it (but not drive). Yes, it could contribute to falls. Yes, it could, in the end, kill her. But if she is to stop the vodka, she should be medically weaned.

If she were younger, then I'd try to work with her on this as it could be worth your while. But this is about her chosen quality of life and she is 88 years old. She is independent. She enjoys her vodka. It doesn't sound like she has a lot of other medications.

Her family should be in on the decision, but if this were my mother, I'd let her have her vodka if she wanted it. That's simply a personal opinion. I'll repeat that medically this is likely not sound advice so you should work with the family. If it makes you more comfortable, have them sign a disclaimer that it's not your fault if the vodka causes a problem. Good luck,
Carol
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I agree with Carol that if this woman has been living like this for many years (and you know she has) as long as someone takes the car keys away then let her do it.

Also, a gallon of vodka a month is basically two strong vodka and tonics per day. A shot is about 1.5 OZ, and a gallon over a month is about 4 oz per day. This is hardly alcoholic behavior. This is a woman who enjoys a cocktail or two before bed.
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I agree with Carol. I'd let my mom have the couple of drinks per day she was used to.

My husband took drugs that should not be taken with alcohol. His geriatrician and the behavioral neurologist who treated his dementia both said it was fine for him to have a couple of beers or wine or shots per day, as long as it didn't obviously increase his impairments.

I don't know if you'll have any say in the matter as a part time caregiver, but if you do, my vote is to let her have her usual drinks.
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