My recently widowed mother is an alcoholic in denial. We are afraid to leave her alone, what do we do?

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My two sisters and I live in different states from her and don't know what to do for her. She is 79, and was totally dependant on her husband. We are taking turns staying with her, but this is not a permanent solution. She will not admit that she drinks too much. She wants to get her drivers license renewed and we are terrified she might pass the test. we have talked to her opthamologist and internist without success. they just want to pass the problem to us. what do we do. we are afraid to leave her alone.

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Hi Patrice- first of all, I get the alcoholic thing. The only way I got my mother, who drinks too much, to stop driving was to move her to another state. For you, it is good she doesn't have a current license. You're half way there! Rally the troops, whomever u and ur dad are close to, talk to them and make sure EVERYONE will refuse to take her to the registry to renew the license. Hopefully, if she can't get there, she can't get one. Hang in there!!
xoxo

-SS
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first of all is your father sick? Does he recognize the problem with her? I have been around alot of al.coholism and know more than I care to know about it. I can probably write numerous books on it, which I have been thinking of doing while I'm at home caring for my MIL. MY brother died 4 years ago from it .He was only 42. It is a very deadly disease.
if you are even thinking, she has a problem, then SHE DOES. Sorry to be blunt.You have to bring this to her Drs. attention. If he won"t, You must see someone else. She can be in a serious state.. I will help you with any questions. I"d like to write more right now, but I have to feed my MIL now.. LOVE, SHERRI
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Thanks for the advice, you've all been very helpful. She is not currently driving and does not have a current driver's license. She talks daily about getting a new driver's license. we are trying to stall, but as I said, getting no help from her doctors. We just hope the DMV will not pass her when she takes the road test.
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As far as her continued driving, there are companies that you can work with that will give her a "driving test" and fail her. There are little known companies popping up for this exact reason for elders who will not stop driving. If your mother continues to drive and kill someone while she has been drinking, you will be broke managing all of that. Take the car away and sell it or give her “fake” keys for the car and remove the battery or put a “dead” battery in the car.
I like the suggestion that you get a hold of a local Addiction Specialist organization (Hospital, Stress Center, Salvation Army) that know how to help people move on from addictions. There is a large rise in elders addicted to medicines let alone booze. These people know how to handle this with as little stress as possible. If you can get your mother sober then you may try to put her in an Assisted Living Facility so she can have plenty of things to do.
Blessings,
Bridget
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First off, if she has problem drinking, she should not be driving, it is too dangerous for her and others on the road. My Dad was not a drinker, but , because was just starting his dementia, we took his car away from him. He was not happy but I guess he realized it was the right thing to do. Besides, his car was not safe to drive.

Can you hire a home health aide or nurse to stay with her? Is there any other physical or mental problem she has that is serious enough that a Doctor could declare her incompetent? Remember that driving is a symbol of her independence and ability to remain active and gets her out of the empty house where she and your Dad lived that probably has sad memories for her.Did she start drinking more after your Dad passed? It is hard to force an alcoholic to stop drinking, they need to realize themselves that they should. You may want to check with AA in her area to see if someone that has stopped drinking successfully and for a long period of time would do an intervention with her.
What is the possibility of her coming to live with you or your Sister or one of you moving to her home? This would be tough for your immediate family and a big sacrifice. If you work, you could still hire an experienced caregiver to stay with her during the day/night. She would have someone to talk and share with. Usually someone's drinking just gets worse before they quit. You may also want her to see an elder age doctor who may be more helpful. Would she consider going to a rehab facility that specializes in addiction?
Just don't wait too long. Good luck to you and your family and just keep loving your Mom and let her know it.
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The best solution that I can think of IMHO is to make an appointment for yourself with a Substance Abuse Counselor and ask them how to proceed. They have the education and experience to approach this situation with dignity and care. Please give one a try. I hope all goes well. Just be patient. It all takes time, but don't stop because your Mom needs you.
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