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After a long battle with cancer, my mom passed away 3 years ago. My folks were married for over 40 years. My dad dealt with her passing and, in time, started dating again. He has a girlfriend- who's a great lady.

My dad has always been stubborn, but my mom was there to reign him in. Alcohol has always been a part of their social lives. I never saw my parents plastered or drunk. They were more of social drinkers, but a very social couple ;-)

The best way to describe my dad- and this sounds bad- but he's your typical "Rush Limbaugh" type. Hates PC, goes on tangents about politics, etc. In the past, he was somewhat whitty, but he's definitely lost his edge the past 10 years. And now that my mom's not around to answer to, he says some weird stuff.

He can't handle silence- has to talk... and he's socially awkward and abrasive. Personally, I don't bother with it, since I don't bring him around my social circle.

The problem is that lately we've seen some red flags about his behavior. We found out from his GF that she suspects he's drinking during the day- straight vodka- and he's hiding and lying about it.

While visiting my brother, my sister in law thought she saw my dad go to his car and take a few swigs out of a bottle. We also had a close family friend tell us that they found a water bottle of vodka.

My brother confronted my dad and it was a catastrophe. My dad is stubborn and to be honest- I seriously doubt we can get him to change his behavior. We can't police him, he really doesn't have any friends besides his GF (who lives in another city). He has nothing to do all day. He doesn't play golf anymore because he's physically a wreck. Fat, bloated, Type II diabetes, joint pain...

On top of all of this, he has no self awareness. He says stuff in public that makes you cringe. He thinks it's funny to say perverted comments. His mantra is "F- it, this is who I am." Again- think Rush Limbaugh- very opinionated.

I wonder if he's started to develop symptoms of dementia. His mom died of Alzheimer's and he has two crazy siblings.

My brother and I discussed how we should handle this. We can't babysit him and he's kinda of pain in @ss to be around. But we want him to have a relationship with his grandkids. And we also know that our mom would be so disappointed in what he's become.

I can't see him suddenly become sober and meet new friends. He's 70 years old and very set in his ways.

Another thought is- if he wants to drink himself to death and rot away, well that's his choice. But we're worried he'll get behind the wheel, get a DWI, or even worse kill someone or people.

I know this is long-winded, but I have no idea how to approach this. I've never had to deal with a single parent, alcoholism, and/or an elderly person who could be suffering from dementia.

Last thing- what makes this worse is that he just went to the doctor for a checkup and they said he's in great shape. Either he's lying, or the doctor got his degree online.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Budfox, also be careful about granddad being around his grandkids if he's drinking - don't let him drive them anywhere. Set limits if you need to in that area.

Since your mom is gone, it's a good time to sit him down and talk about POAs and emergencies. Maybe have a family powwow and everyone set them up (you and your bro too), along with wills. Everyone should have a POA. I'm 63 and in excellent health and have mine set up, along with a will. My parents both lived to their 90s (mom's still here at 93) but I have a friend who had a stroke at 63 and is in a nursing home. So get those done for everyone in your family! That will start the ball rolling if he names you or your brother as POA. Then you can start to get more medical info. Or ask to go with him to the doctor the next time he goes.
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We don't have POA... haven't even considered it yet. He's still very self sufficient- I don't know if we could even get POA.

But thanks to all for your suggestions.
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Beware - Wernicke/Korsakoff syndrome - a type of memory loss and confusion brought on by alcohol causing a thiamine (Viramin B-1) deficiency.

In the early stages, it can be reversed by nutritional supplementation. But as time goes on, it can become permanent dementia.

As already asked, do you have the POAs in place that would allow his doctor to speak to you? You can inform his doctor his doctor in an email about your dads behavior, just don't expect the doctor to communicate with you about your dad unless you have the POA. You me to try to get this checked as soon as possible. There is a fine line as to when the condition becomes irreversible.
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PHEW! You have a lot to deal with, it makes me thankful. Are powers of attorney in place that would allow you to talk to dad's doctor? Maybe calling the Al-Anon 24 hour support line would help to get some insight.
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I hear your alarm and pain. I think in my humble opinion that it would be helpful for you to find someone you can talk to about this, a professional that can guide you through this, because you are going to need support. Sounds like dad is "self-medicating" his pain. His political rants are outlets for him, sort of like a righteous rant. I do know that you can't change him, control him, fix him that is his job. He will get to the point that something will either force his hand and make him make a decision about whether he wants to continue on this course of collision or make some changes. 70 is relatively young by today's standards, he can still make a happy meaningful life for himself. I sure hope he does not end up with DWI, or for God's sakes worse hurting someone else. But, seems to be the nature of the beast, it will go on till something happens to either wake him up or end it for him. You can only do your best, after doing all, let it stand. I guess it is a matter of doing all that you can to promote a good outcome, but the outcome is truly out of your hands. We all make choices, some are good and some are lousy, we are free to suffer the good or bad consequences of those choices, you are not responsible for his behaviour or happiness, you can contribute to it, but you are your own captain of your own ship, keep it afloat and moving along in the right direction, don't get ensnared by his tangle.
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