Question About Elderly Parent

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by pasajes4, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My mother is 90ish and lives on her own. She is still very active and is in good health for the most part

    My mother is a drinker and has been for a really long time. She does not feel that she has a problem, but it is seriously affecting her relationships with all of her kids and grand kids.

    I don't know how to go about getting the help that she needs. Any ideas would be welcome. Her behavior is becoming very strange.
  2. PirateMom

    PirateMom New Member

    Unfortunately at the moment there isn't anything you can do. If she is still taking care of herself and still competent then she's still able to make choices for herself. The most you can do is trying and express your concerns. It's dangerous for her to drink at that age, I'm certain she's on prescriptions medication and the effects of that combined with alcohol might not be safe for her. Maybe contact her primary doctor and let them know what is going on? Then her doctor can look over her list of medications and at her next visit have a talk with her. Most states only allow you to be able to take action if your parents have signed over their primary care to you. Then you can place them into a de-tox center.

    Have you looked into Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) ? They are all about taking care of people who might not be able to make the right decisions for themselves. If nothing else they usually have a help line you can call to get advice and what legal steps you can take.
  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I did talk to her dr. about her drinking last year when she wound up in the hospital after she passed out in church and hit he head. He must have said something to her because she fired him. He was her dr. and a personal friend of hers.

    With the HIPPA privacy act, I am running into brick walls. It is very hard to watch this unfold. She is not on any medication. She is in really good physical shape.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You can go full bore and have her declared incompetent to care for herself - which she can and will contest and you likely won't win and even if you do she'll never speak to you again - or you can do nothing. I hate to say that but it's the absolute truth. husband's mother is a hoarder and the police are at her home on a regular basis because of her paranoid delusions. The only thing they like less than her living on her own is the idea that the state may have to take care of her because none of her children are going to take her in.

    I could raise the hair on your neck with the true story of what a nightmare it was when we had to have my great-aunt with Alzheimer's declared incompetent after her husband had a stroke. It ended with her dead, $40,000 in attorney's fees (ours, the ones the neighbors hired for her behind our backs, and the neighbors' - the estate had to pay them all), and a neighborhood family who signed everything tangible that they owned over to themselves saying that she had done it before the family drove her insane by trying to have her "put in the nuthouse". Not only that but we had to pay the neighbor, who had no driver's license and was a 3 time convicted DUI felon $40 an hour plus mileage to drive her to the nursing home to see her husband every day for 3 months. That little bill was $12,000. They wanted $40 an hour for three months of 24/7 in home care, too, but that kind of fell apart when she wandered off in her nightgown one freezing November evening. Thank God she was found by a Good Samaritan who brought her to the police station. They even stole every stitch of clothing she owned.

    I wouldn't wish this kind of fight on my worst enemy. in my humble opinion it would be best for her if you never brought it up again and hope that she comes to you eventually.
  5. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Witz, I really did not think that there was anything I could do. I had hoped that her dr./friend could have had some influence over her. He pretty much told her I had spoken to him. He did try to talk to her about the amount she was drinking. He was under the impression that she was drinking a glass of red wine a day not the box of wine she consumes and chases down with vodka.

    I have stopped going over there because I just can't stand to be around drunk people who become mean and hateful. I then turn around and feel guilty because that's my mom and she won't be around that much longer.
  6. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    As long as she is in good physical health for her age and good mental health except for the drinking, there is little you can do. Our system is set up to deal with problems after the fact; not when you see them coming. Too bad but it is what it is. Apparently she had a problem at church so you could ask for help from the pastor but if she wouldn't take it from her doctor, she probably wouldn't take it from the minister either.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    To be perfectly blunt and honest, it would likely be FAR more dangerous to her health for her to try to detox than to continue to drink as she does. From what you have said, her body is almost certainly dependent on alcohol and stopping her alcohol consumption would be so difficult and traumatic that few doctors who really knew the scope of the problem would suggest she detox unless she was in a hospital and in phenomenal health for her age.

    I have an aunt who is an alcoholic and her family has been told that to try to detox would be more likely to kill her than to help her. She is much older than my mom, and we simply don't contact her in the afternoon if it can be helped. She just isnt lucid after about lunchtime.

    Few people realize exactly how dangerous it is to stop drinking if you are physically dependent on the alcohol. It truly is one of the most dangerous addictions to stop, and esp for the elderly it DEMANDS a doctor's supervision 24/7 because of the risks of seizure, heart problems, etc.....

    I strongly suggest that rather than try to change her, you go to AlAnon for some help in coping with the issue. It isn't about changing her, but about changing your reactions to her. While of course you love her and care for her, you still have every right to establish boundaries for sane interaction wtih her. You probably won't get that if you approach her about her drinking, but you can learn to deal with your feelings about her drinking and about her behavior while she is under the influence.

    The only way I would EVER bring this up to her is if she drives. Her car would never again function and every car she had would cease to function until I could get her license revoked. She isn't just endangering herself if she drives, and that risk cannot be allowed, Know what I mean??

    I am sorry you have to deal with this. It is NOT fun by any means. If you have to keep her at arms length because she is nasty when she drinks, then by all means you should do that. It does NOT mean you do not love her, it means you also love yourself. And you SHOULD love yourself and protect yourself, you are totally worth it.

    You need to protect your minor children from her drinking behavior, but other than that it is NOT your job to see that she has a good relationship wtih her other kids or grandkids. Those are her and their jobs, not yours.
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  8. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your replies. I spent an hour with her on Friday. I left when she started being nasty. My youngest is 17, and he has nothing to do with her. She is extremely hateful about him and to him. He is biracial and that simply will not do. He has not seen her since he was 3 and she called him a half breed bas****.

    She drives but not when she is drinking. I have her neighbor watching out for her. I can't do much more than that. I have a feeling this won't end well.
  9. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    She sounds similar to my mother, apart from the drinking, but my mother has other issues including borderline personality disorder. She is nasty, manipulative and jealous. She also still drives and shouldn't. I also think things with my mother won't end well. My brother has had nothing to do with her for years. He has completely detached from her. He says she's earned the right to be alone. It's a good conclusion and I agree with him. There's nothing about her that will change now. She's 82. I still visit once a month or so, but I leave as soon as she starts getting nasty. I wouldn't attempt to do anything. If she's anything like my mother you would just be on the receiving end of recriminations, accusations and spite. I wish I had a loving mother that I cared about, but I haven't and I've just accepted that. She has had nothing to do with any of my children for 20 years and more. Her choice. I've survived 52 years of a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship, I'm on the home stretch now. I'm sorry for your pain and worry, but I think maybe you should let it go and focus on yourself and how you are coping.
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry Pasajes, you're in a bind with no way out. I agree to go get support for yourself, it doesn't sound as if you can do anything for your mother.
  11. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for sharing your experience with your mother. I try not to spend too much time with her. I thought I had escaped being damaged by her drinking. I now realize that I have not. There has been fallout through out the years that has had a negative impact on not just me but on my entire family. I have just started attending meetings for adult children of alcoholics as well as CODA meetings.

    My heart goes out to you for having to deal with your mother. Mine is a bit older than yours and she too will not change.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Susiestar hit the nail on the head. At her age she'd be at great risk of permanent damage or death from the DT's.
  13. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Yes, at her age and to the degree she is drinking it would no doubt cause damage. I had hoped there was away that I could get in home care or get her into a facility so that there would essentially be someone babysitting her. I know that it sounds like I am passing the buck. Well, truthfully that is exactly what it is. I can't deal with her and neither can any of the members of the family. It would have to be someone who has no emotional ties to her. She will not hear of it. It will only happen if she is forced to do so either medically or legally. I don't have the money to force the issue.