Otherwise Healthy 81 Year Old Dad has Given up and Relying on Alcohol.

by Suz
(Ontario, Canada)

Mom is six years younger than dad. I am the eldest of three children. Dad is an otherwise healthy man other than two failed knee replacements.


They are painful and he has taken to watching TV and drinking. Dad has had control over everything all his life and mom never had power or choice over very little. I called my youngest sibling, because she is the baby, dad would listen to her more than me. She refused to help.

My mom is now taking the position of "power over" and not helping dad get out and do something he enjoys. He did not get his license back when he turned 80 and I know he is feeling depressed and basically useless.

He sits in front of the TV, drinks beer and straight shots and becomes verbally abusive with Mom. He is now getting his days and nights mixed up after he has a nap, thinks it is morning when it is 7 in the evening.

I know he cannot quit drinking cold turkey. So I suggested that he at least only drink beer. I made an appointment with his GP and had some tests done, everything is fine! Cholesterol, liver, BP...all good!

I know Mom could handle things differently as she gets angry and doesn't want to spend much time with him. She will call me as I live 45 minutes away and tell me that he is waking from a nap and thinking it is morning and attempting to take his morning medications, wanting coffee and breakfast.

So I will call back, speak to dad and let him know that I just got home from work. He will disagree with me but I can always get him to come around. I know he is in pain with his knees but I really get the feeling he is just giving up.

He was always a hard working man and really has no hobbies, working around the house, building things were his hobbies. It is like he cares about nothing anymore.

Any suggestions?

I know I cannot depend on my siblings! I know if he even just stuck to beer, he is a much different person...liquor brings out the worst in him.

I need to get rid of the hard stuff. Suggestions on what might work at this point would be great. I think his forgetfulness is all due to the booze.

Thank you all in advance!

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Hope this helps...
by: Anonymous

Read your post.... and it hard to say if the forgetfulness is only as a result of his drinking because of the fact that he is drinking, but for the sake of responding, I can only go by what you say.

I want to point out that when I came to live with my 86 year old mother all of her blood tests came out perfect as well. But in the 2 years (so far) I am with her, we found C-Diff (you can Google that), we thought she just had diarrhea, many UTI's over the months, she had a large mass in her colon, and on another occasion after a colonoscopy, we found colon cancer, she also has a nodule on her kidney. We found these issues when she had to have Cat Scans - but, 3 blood tests she had over the months were fine - so go figure.

My mother is on blood pressure med, Warfin (she has had small strokes), thyroid med, and she is taking an antidepressant (my mother does not know she is taking the antidepressant). Is your dad taking pain med also? I am assuming he is, if he is in such pain. Is the doctor aware of the failed knee surgeries?

Again, I am assuming he is - seems like something should be done there. My mother use to drink a lot, until she had knee surgery and doc gave her Vicodin for pain - she then cut the drinking back and started getting hooked on Vicodin.

It is hard to tell our elderly parents what is best for them, as they will not listen to us - so I hear ya. With my mother, I finally got to a point where I purchased generic Tylenol and put it in her Norco container and she thinks she is taking Norco med.

But I want to say my mother is doing much better today after we worked through all her medical issues. My mother is down to one Tylenol a day or sometimes no Tylenol.

My mother also broke her hip this last year, so she is doing good where the pain medications go.

So, I want to repeat my mom is taking two medications she does know about. For you.... if you want to Google "Medications to stop drinking".... you will find some information you may want to speak with your father's doctor about.

But, if you can give your father the medication, I would suggest you may want to give it to him without his knowing as to what it is, if possible (as I am doing with my mother). The next thing is with every drinker, there is an enabler.

You may want to look into NA meetings for your mom. You may also want to Google some information and print it re: "alcohol related enabling" and give it to your mother to read.

I mean really, if your mother is going to continue to enable him to just sit and drink, there is nothing you can do, but get help for yourself in the form of NA, just a suggestion.

As you said your dad has always been controlling; I feel the spouse of this type of man usually feel helpless and maybe fearful - she does not know how to handle situations, but NA can be of help.

I believe if things are left alone, it may progress. Alcoholism is considered a progressive decease. So, I think your situation is two-fold with mom and dad - both need help.

I cannot see how dad can get help, if mom doesn't. Then there is the family intervention. Hope this helps.

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