How do you place an alcoholic Dad with dementia in a care home if they want him to stop drinking and he won't?


Does anyone have experience dealing with this issue? He is still physically able to function. He gets up and does his thing each day (puttering around his acre of land) but when early afternoon comes he is tired (he's 85) and so he just goes inside and watches tv and drinks light beer. He can get argumentative but so far not physically abusive. His natural temperament is easy going.



I agree that if he's reasonably content and able to function I'd leave him alone. If he does need to go into a care facility they need to know about his alcohol use/abuse because quick withdrawal after a lifetime of drinking can have horrendous effects without treatment.

As people have already said, his alcohol use isn't your doing or your problem. It's complicated now by dementia, so you may eventually get drawn into getting him into care. You'll need to be completely honest about his addiction. I'd suggest Al-Anon for you because being with others can help you cope.

Good luck,
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Reply to Carol Bradley Bursack

I think Janny is wondering how to get her dad into a facility because he has dementia but he's also an active alcoholic.

Alcoholism is a topic that's been covered here many times and there are many people here who have dealt with this situation to some degree or another. I'm sure you'll get many thoughtful and helpful responses.

Your dad has 2 hurdles to overcome. The first being giving up drinking. It's not as easy as it sounds and your dad will need medical supervision if he does quit. The second is getting him into a skilled care facility. Call me a cynic but I don't see anyone at the age of 85 and who's an alcoholic giving up the drinking so they can move into a nursing home.

You may just have to wait this one out and know that at some point you will get a call from someone telling you that your dad fell or has had a stroke. Once in the hospital he can dry out and be transferred from the hospital to a facility.

Always remember that it's not within your power to get your dad to stop drinking. He won't stop unless he wants to and you can't make him want to. It's nothing personal, it's just the addiction. It's bigger than both of you.
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Reply to Eyerishlass

If he is able to function ,just leave him alone. He seems to be just living his final days doing what he he is content to do. Love him and help him when ever you can . He is still the dad you love.treat him with the respect that you have for him.
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Reply to Mildrednewark

My mom fell into alcoholism later in life. Dad says she started drinking daily in her 50s due to stress and anxiety (this was after I was moved out - I did not know). For the last 2 years she basically took to her easy chair and drank wine all day from sun up to sun down. This started when she turned 70. Last summer she fell and broke some fingers and refused therapy so now she has a partially functioning hand. By around Memorial Day of this year she spent three days in bed and could not get up, walk or eat. Over her protests, my dad and I got her to the emergency room. Long story short, the hospital kept her for a week and then sent her to a nursing home for more help. Once she got into the medical system, no access to alcohol, she was able to get out of the fog and see the damage to her body, through the tests the doctors performed. She was able to come home around 4th of July and now goes back for outpatient therapy. Just my family's story, but getting her away from her home and into the medical system both removed her from the alcohol and scared the living crap out of her....she has begun to return to normal and proudly announced this weekend that she is 2 months clean. Oh, and my dad who WAS showing signs of dementia, quit drinking too. And guess what - no more signs of dementia. It was the alcohol. He has de-aged a decade since he quit drinking! Alcohol and elderly do not mix.
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Reply to Upstream

Good luck. Have you read all of the posts in here, about people that move in? Then, the parent runs their life and wants them to pay rent. I don't know of a single case where this (moving in) has worked out.

I am sorry to sound so negative.
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Reply to Chicago1954

An alcoholic drinking lite beer? How much beer exactly are we talking about?
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Reply to vstefans

Has your Dad done anything that would point to him being a danger to himself like having accidents with cooking(fires) or history of falls? Is he unable to care for himself, dressing or proper bathing issues etc. Just being old and ? of dementia does not make him a candidate for placement in a nursing home. Nursing home are not the solution to aging. Most people stay home and die of natural causes.
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Reply to drooney

Please read all the previous info posted in other areas about moving in with elderly parents. Sometimes it is better to care give from afar rather than give up your life for the next several years.

24/7 care will be an emotional roller coaster for you and as Dad's disease progresses; you will suffer physically as well. Think long and hard about this decision. It is wonderful to have a big heart and want to take care of our love ones; but the reality can be stunning. Good luck!
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Reply to littletonway

I just wanted to address something that I read in the responses.

It doesn't matter if your dad drinks light beer or whiskey. It's still alcohol and it's still an addiction. Alcoholism isn't about what someone drinks or even how often they drink, it's about how the alcohol affects the person. Alcoholics are wired differently than non-alcoholics. Their brain is wired differently. And as an alcoholic your dad doesn't have a choice. He has to drink. I'm sure if he were given the option he would choose to quit because the life of an alcoholic is something out of a nightmare.

Good for you for going to Alanon! You're right, caregivers often fall ill from daily stress and anxiety that never ends. Going to Alanon is doing something for yourself, to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. You're taking some very positive steps.
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Reply to Eyerishlass

You might want to try switching his beer to Bud Select 55 (2.4% alcohol) which has less alcohol than a regular light beer such as Bud Light (4.2% alcohol). Miller also has a similar lower alcohol beer.
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Reply to mar126

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