Mother in law has Parkinson’s and abuses alcohol. Any advice?

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My mother in law moved in with us, she has Parkinson’s and abuses alcohol. Is there Rehab help for seniors? It’s getting to be out of control and terrorizing our kids.

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Hi MrsJen,
You can already see the damage she is inflicting on your family.

Parkinson's is bad enough but adding alcohol to the mix is a recipe for disaster. She's a fall (with broken bones) waiting to happen.

You are not going to change her mind about drinking. She probably won't even admit she has a problem-most alcoholics are in denial.

Does she have a doctor? He or she needs to be alerted to the fact that she drinks. It could interfere with her Parkinson's medication.
You could ask the doc what would be a proper placement for your mom.

I would suggest you try to remove her from your home as soon as possible so your kids can have a normal home life. (I was a child of 2 alcoholics-it's no fun.)

You can call Social Services in your area to find out what other living arrangements can be made for her. It sounds like she may need assisted living but I don't know if they'll take her if she's actively drinking. They can assess her to she what she qualifies for.

How does your husband feel about his mother drinking in front of your children. Are you both in agreement that she needs to leave?

Good luck.
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Don't let others question "how does she obtain the alcohol". My mother is an alcoholic and even at a point when she could hardly walk she managed to drag herself out to the car to drive to the convenience store for her wine. Even now (she is slightly better physically) she says it's too difficult to drive to the grocery for food, but by god she gets her daily wine.

My dad has been diagnosed with Parkinsons. He was a heavy drinker too. We were able to get through to him that the alcohol and medications did not mix and were detrimental to his well being. He took us seriously and quit drinking, to my surprise. Maybe a serious discussion with her from you and/or doctor could do this?

In the absence of her quitting or paring down to a minimal token drink per day, remove her from your daily living arrangement as it's only going to get disgustingly worse for your family.

Alcohol rehab might work but only if SHE is motivated and understands the dire need to quit. Or, if she falls or has the slightest hiccup that gets her admitted to the emergency room, you could push to get her a 6-week stay in a physical rehab facility. There, she will not have access to alcohol and might help her quit permanently.

That last strategy was what worked for my dad, but not for my mom.

Be resourceful and look out for the best interest of you and your children first.
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Mrsjen, my first question is how does your Mother-in-law get the alcohol? Is she still able to drive? Or is the alcohol in the household for everyone's use?
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Protect your children. You do not want to find the department of children and families at your door. I agree about how she is obtaining alcohol. Who is enabling her.

Worse case is she needs assisted living in a lock down unit
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There are mental health units which take seniors who need more help than any assisted living can provide. You'll need to talk to the doc about having her committed to a hospital where they can get her chemical intake under control. She may be able to recover. Under no circumstances would I allow her to be around my children unsupervised, so I would make sure they are not alone with her while I am making arrangements to place mom.
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keep her away from your children
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Hi MrsJen: My dad is 88 and an alcoholic. Mostly his "recreational" drinking got worse after mom and my brothers died. It built up to 12 beers a day until Aug 2016 he had a car accident going to get his beer. He had his license taken away and spent 3 weeks in hospital/rehab. Luckily the other driver wasn't seriously injured. Since then it has been a DAILY battle. His DR had already told him to only drink 2 beers, and that was before the accident. He also had a mild stroke earlier that year and the neurologist said NO BEER. But an alcoholic is addicted. It was a wonderful "break" when he detoxed and was sober for about 2 months after the accident then someone got him some beer thinking they knew best. It was a matter of time anyway. He just want to check out from all his losses. (I'd like to too!) So, even though dad can't drive, lives 3 miles from the nearest store and only gets a small amount of money every month (I control finances except for his very small pension check) he STILL manages to get beer. His caregiver said he even tries to stop strangers on the road. But mostly it is people who don't care what his Dr said or that it can cause Him to have another stroke, they want something in return and so they give/get him the beer. Luckily the caregiver, who does live on his property, has been able to INTERCEPT large quantities and so far dad only gets the 2 she gives him or occasionally one or two more on top of the 2. Dad doesn't take any meds that may interact with his alcohol so that is good, for him. In your situation you can enlist the help of your mom's DR but if she is an alcoholic it won't matter. And going to AA or something like that is NOT going to work unless SHE wants to stop and she's probably like my dad; alcohol makes her forget her troubles. It's been a tough last 5 years since my older brother died. He lived on dad's property (he also drank beer and was a diabetic) but at least I only dealt with it from afar. Now we go to dad's (1.5 hr drive one way) every other weekend. He gets belligerent when he drinks but not as bad as it used to be. His caregiver keeps a couple beers in her fridge and gives him one after lunch and one after dinner. He ALWAYS asks people to buy him when "when you go into town" but family doesn't. My advice to you is to do what you can, what YOU want when you can and let the rest go. That is for YOUR benefit. So when something happens to your mom you won't have any guilt. Go to A Anon for YOURSELF. It helped me realize that I can't help him he can only help himself and "he doesn't have a problem". God bless.
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MrsJen -- Reread and act upon all who are questioning who is enabling/protecting her source of liquor supply and those who recommend assisted living. Look into the possibility of your joining a (free) Alanon group that will give emotional support to you as a family member. Go online to find the location of an Alanon group near you.
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There may have been a time when her doctor told her that "a glass of wine might help the shaking" and she has take it a bit further.
She may also be "self medicating" a variety of things going on.
She may have also had an alcohol problem for years and she is getting worse at covering the effects.
You do need to protect your children so do what you must there. If she is not happy that is on her.
Yes seniors can go into rehab. The problem would be the Dementia. She does not know there is a problem. It does not matter what the age of the addict is, if they do not accept that they have a problem there will be no rehab.
There are medications that can be given that will react with alcohol but the reaction is not pleasant.
This is something that needs to be discussed with her Doctor.
One of the reasons he or she needs to know is the alcohol probably effects how other prescribed medications will work. Drinking also makes this person a greater "Fall Risk" so they are more apt to get hurt and possibly break a hip
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I am so sorry that your family has to go through this journey. With the best situations it is so hard and frustrating and scary (to name a few). Your choice of words, terrorizing our kids, was all I needed to see. She can do whatever she chooses, just not in your home. Children need to be protected from selfish, narcissistic adults, maybe a bit strong, but this woman is taking advantage of the love and kindness your family has shown by opening their home to her, her thank you is "I am going to do what I want regardless of how it affects any of you!" Her words may be different, but this is what her actions say. You and your husband are responsible to your children and each other FIRST. I am not sure where you are, but my dad lives in a small, 8 people max, assisted living home and to my great surprise residents can have alcohol, with a Dr.s permission. This could be a solution for her. If your MIL won't, can't or? Stop drinking, it is time for her to deal with the consequences of her choices, not your children or yourselves.

Please let us know how things are going, we all help each other on this site and I personally pray for all involved in all of the personal journeys, so I love to hear updates, as I'm sure do others. May God bless and keep you and your family through this hard trial.
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