What options are out there for a senior alcoholic, with no one in state to take care of him? - AgingCare.com

What options are out there for a senior alcoholic, with no one in state to take care of him?

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My FIL is an alcoholic, doesn't bathe, lives in filth, and only eats pizza and beer. We are out of state and not sure what to do as he is adamant that he is capable of caring for himself. We have sold his vehicle bc he was a danger to himself/others. The situation is only deteriorating and now he is now hanging with shady people that are taking advantage of his state. We handle his bills because he was spiraling out of control and almost lost his home. We are trying our best but he refuses help, admits he is an alcoholic but doesn't want to change. There is only so much we can do from afar, and we can only get to him so often. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

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Your FIL can't make healthy decisions on his own behalf because he's an alcoholic. It's why he lives in filth and doesn't bathe. I had a friend who was in his early 60's who lived the same way. He thought for sure that he would just die in his sleep one day and that would be it. No muss no fuss. So he kept drinking. He had no concept of what time of day it was or when he last ate.

A few days went by and no one had heard from him and when his landlord was contacted he found my friend on the floor, by the front door, unconscious. He had had a massive stroke. There was spoiled food left on the kitchen counters and the place was a mess to say the least. My friend was taken to the hospital, then to rehab, and then to a nursing home. This isn't what he planned on the end of his life looking like.

You can't stop your FIL from drinking. Save your breath and your time. Keep in touch with him and if you don't hear from him for a couple of days (or whatever is normal for you) send the police to do a well-check on him.

There's nothing you can do.
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My MIL drank herself to death with alcohol overdose at age 52. My ex went to check on her and found her dead in the bed. There was nothing we could do. We did interventions, had her admitted to a psych hospital and even moved her in with us at one point. If someone is intent on drinking, nobody can stop them. Present husband's son (age 39) drank himself to death in our home. Came clean 6 weeks before he died, but it was too late. Not to sound negative, but my experience with alcohol is that the best thing you can do is to take care of your own self and hubby. Let go of guilt. Love yourself and forgive yourself for being helpless in the situation.
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If he can pass a dementia test, you cannot stop him. If you think he will not pass, you petition for a Guardian to be appointed through his county court.
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My three kids are in the same situation with my ex who is 80. I won't bore you with the sad details, but he still has enough smarts left after a hospital visit for broken nose, falls, etc., that he walks out of rehab after three days. Very sad for all concerned. I would suggest you find an Alanon group meeting near you so you can at least know the what and why of this terrible disease. If you are living in the same state, they may have some suggestions as to what Elder Care groups you might contact in his area. Getting a Health Care POA and a Durable POA in place would be a big plus and sounds as if this has been done. My kids at least managed that so the hospital now calls my son immediately if his Dad shows up in the ER. If the hospital can ever decide that he can't go home by himself and has to be in an ALF (if he manages to live that long) where he can't get any booze, we might see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Every county has an Office of Elder Affairs. Call the one where he lives and see what they suggest or check their web site. The other option is to find out about Geriatric Care Managers in his area. Might be expensive, but worth it if he will listen to an objective outsider with HIS best interests at heart. No easy answers here as the disease really takes over after while, just as it does with Alzheimer's. Keep in touch - we are here to get each other through the hard times. Hugs!
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Do you have any legal authority over him, any powers of attorney that would allow you to act on his behalf? I'm assuming you may have since you handle his bills.

If so, you could try to get home care intervention from a doctor, but I suspect he doesn't have one and wouldn't accept care. You could also try to get injunctions against the shady characters but this would involve some observation and/or research of your own, which doesn't seem geographically possible.

And I'm not sure if a Durable Power of Attorney would extend to that kind of action. Even then, your FIL would probably not be in disagreement about keeping these people away from him.

I suspect he's hanging around with them because he's on a downward spiral and they're more equivalent to his current situation and self perception than folks who are living healthy livies. He's seeking his own level of deteriorating, antisocial, negligent behavior, for whatever reasons.

Are there any other family members who could intervene, assuming he would be willing to listen to them?

You could contact Adult Protective Service in his area and ask them to evaluate him, but he could refuse to allow them in and/or refuse to cooperate with them. Telling APS he's involved with "shady" people that are exploiting him would be appropriate, although I'm not sure what they would do in that situation except make a referral to law enforcement to determine if the shadeys and/or your FIL are involved in criminal activites.

It does sound as though he's hell bent on a destructive course of action and there's nothing you can do about it. I wish I could think of something, but his resistance would probably undercut your actions.

Know that you've tried, but he's made decisions that require his cooperation to reverse, and that doesn't seem likely to happen.

Perhaps others will have better suggestions. I haven't really dealt with this kind of situation.
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