He goes to work (graveyard shift) so we don’t see each much.
He lives with me in my home (in separate quarters). But on his days off he falls apart by drinking. His car needs repairing so he is using mine.

I am at the age (80) where I see the hand writing on the wall and know that I need to prepare for when I am going to start needing assistance with things. I see my son wasting his life away on his days off and feel he will not be able to help me.
That scares me.

We live in an isolated area. No other family around. I keep in touch with my sisters through my iPad. But I paint them a rosy picture.

I am not strong enough mentally to tell him to get with it.
I love him too much to upset him or ask him to leave. I feel overwhelmed with worry and concern for him and for my future as I am now slowing down.

What can I do?

Sorry if this sounds harsh—are you strong enough mentally to have him wreck your car while drunk and kill an innocent person? Are you strong enough to see your house burn down because he passed out drunk and caused a fire? Are you strong enough to have your finances and future ruined because he can’t be responsible?
Please be honest with the rest of your family, no more rosy picture, tell your concerns as you have here. Ask for help anywhere you can. I wish you well in finding the strength to change this before a tragedy occurs
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Daughterof1930
TouchMatters Apr 18, 2021
Yes, exactly.
This woman needs support from a professional.
The fact that she twists co-dependency into "I love him" clearly shows that she needs psychological and emotional support.

What you say is not harsh, it is the reality of the situation. You said it better than I did.
You probably need to start being honest with your sisters and making arrangements to move into a retirement home. It sounds like your son is an alcoholic, and you can't rely on him to help you. It is what it is, but you can't let your concern about him get in the way of taking care of what you need to do to protect yourself.

Also, if he's drunk and using your car, you're opening yourself up to enormous liability if he has an accident. If you have the money, pay to get his car fixed, but stop letting him use yours.

Call your county Dept. of Aging to get help on getting things rolling. You don't want to wait until you're too infirm to make decisions for yourself.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to MJ1929

You have rather cut us off at the pass by telling us that you are not "strong enough mentally to tell him to get with it". That being the case, I cannot imagine an answer to this, as the ONLY answer really is to rent out that portion of your home, perhaps without payment, to someone who can support and care for you in future.
I would level with him. But that's me. If you are unable to do that, and wish to continue with painting rose-colored pictures for others, there cannot be any answers to what you recognize will happen.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

NEVER allow an alcoholic to use your car.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Sendhelp


I don't mean this as a slap in the face - some kind of harsh home truth. I'm quite serious. You should move house now, while you are still able to adapt to a better environment for your needs, and as the best possible way of giving your son a face-saving exit route from the corner he's painted himself into.

Your needs are few, your concern for your son rings through everything you've said, you've even lent him your car, and you are thinking ahead. So I think it is very improbable, and it would be unfair to expect it, that you can possibly appreciate the debilitating effect that being in the position of your primary caregiver may be having on his ability to - as you put it so aptly - "get with it."

He comes home, he feels trapped, he gets plastered.

YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG. I can't stress that enough. But just read through the site and see how adult children living with their senior parents rapidly begin to feel about it. And yet, they can't move out and abandon their parents. And they can't live their lives while they're there.

But never mind him for a moment. What about you? I expect you live in a very beautiful place; but as you continue to slow down other factors are also going to matter more and more. Services to call on, accessibility, affordable help when you need it, and - if it appeals to you, not if it doesn't - the companionship or at least the near presence of other people.

I'll stop there because I've no idea how you'll feel about these comments; but do please give them some detached thought. Best wishes.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Countrymouse

Bless you. I agree that you are opening yourself to a lawsuit if you allow your son to use your car. Please pay to have his car fixed.

I also wouldn't count on your son to care for you if your health declines. Be honest with your siblings and let them know what is going on. If you can't confront your son, then don't, just let him know you love him and that you are concerned about him. Plan for yourself. Please do contact the area council on aging in your county (or whatever it's called where you reside). They can assist you in making plans. Please know you are responsible for your own life as your son is responsible for his life; so take the bull by the horns and get your plans in place before you are unable to take care of your self.

I wish you and your son the best of luck.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to cweissp
TouchMatters Apr 18, 2021
No, it is not her place or responsibility to pay for HIS car and get it fixed. It is his responsibility.

This is likely a huge part of the problem - likely for decades.
This woman is not helping her son at all.
Helping him would be: your car doesn't work, you need to get it fixed. No, you cannot use mine.
He hasn't had to be responsible to himself. This isn't love.
Sell your home and move into a senior community. Tell him that you need to start preparing for latter years (though some may say you may never need help). Tell him that when the house sells, you will need your car and he will need to find another living situation.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Taarna

It isn't love, it is fear.
A man his age isn't going to 'get with it.' What he may need to do is get out of your home.
He doesn't 'fall apart drinking.' He is likely an alcoholic.
At 80, the writing has been written on the wall for a long time.
To support you mentally, you need to enlist others to support you to make some changes for your own welfare. 80 is not 40, 50 or even 60. If you do not make changes now, when will you? He is unable to care for you - physically care for your needs and perhaps emotionally and psychologically unable to care for you, possibly, in large part to his addiction to alcohol.

Sounds like you will need his apt / space for a reliable, paid caregiver.
It is time that you ask him to leave and stop loaning him your car.

You are supporting his addictive behavior.
What he needs is to be responsible for his own behavior and choices, and the consequences of his behavior. If he doesn't get his car fixed, then he doesn't have a car to use. You are NOT helping him nor yourself. Do you want your car totalled due to his drinking binges?
You are very fortunate this hasn't happened already.

Of course you are overwhelmed. You are frightened and alone, and 80.
Are you afraid he will hurt you? Contact Senior Services at your county, find a social worker. You need an immediate intervention to flush out your options and make a plan. Moving into a senior community, selling your home sounds like an excellent idea. Discuss your needs with an attorney. Have someone else with you when he tell him what you are doing and what he needs to do.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to TouchMatters

We need more info about what ''falls apart drinking'' actually means. The fact that he can hold down a job is encouraging.

I worked graveyards for a few years, and drank quite a bit on my nights off; largely because there just wasn't anything else to do. I never drove drunk or anything dangerous like that though, and didnt drink a drop during my weeks on (I worked 12 hour shifts for 7 days, then had 7 days off).

Is his car broken because he crashed while drunk?

It can be VERY difficult to maintain friendships or relationships while working nights.

You seem to imply if he wasn't drinking he'd be able to caregive for you in the future. Even if he were the picture of sobriety this is a foolish assumption to make.

You need to sell your house and downsize to an apartment in a more populated area, like a planned senior community. If your son is working and holding down a job he can afford to house himself. At his age he should not be living with his mother anyway. Has he ever lived outside of your home?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to ZippyZee

Just because your son drinks on his days off, doesn't mean he is an alcoholic. From what you say, he holds down a job the other 5 days of the week. You need to take a deep breath and tell your son your concerns, and think about moving ahead with plans for a retirement home of some sort for yourself. He may be relieved that he can be on his own and not worry about you or being your companion. Sounds like there has been little forthright communication between the two of you and now is the time. You don't have to tell him to "get with it," just tell him you're entering a phase of your life where you need more help. Why are you afraid to tell him? What's he going to do if you do?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to OldAlto
TouchMatters Apr 18, 2021
Many alcoholics hold down jobs M-F.
Whether he is or isn't is not the focus here.
He is not responsible.
He apparently doesn't do anything positive to support / help out his mother who is 80.
She is afraid and she needs someone to discuss her options, create a plan, and then the two of them sit down and talk. I think it needs to be social services and/or an attorney, or both.
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