Alzheimer's and alcoholism

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by PetschekNYC, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. PetschekNYC

    PetschekNYC Registered User

    Apr 2, 2018
    10
    My partner has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and has been having memory issues for some time. She has always had a couple of glasses of wine every evening but in the last six months regularly forgets how much she has drunk and continues to pour herself more. I know this sounds simple -don't have drink in the house. I still have to work and during the day she buys bottles from our local shops. It leads to arguments if I suggest in the evening she has had too much and she insists on going to one of the shops for more. The alcohol then makes her condition worse as she becomes more disoriented and fearful of her surroundings
    I don't drink so there is no need to have wine in the house. I don't want to stop her having the freedom to buy things but this is becoming increasingly difficult to manage. The GP can offer no solution other than removing her purse - I tried this but it led to hours of pointless searching as she knew something should be there but couldn't locate it.
    Does anyone have experience of managing this very difficult situation?
     
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    10,167
    Merseyside
  3. DeMartin

    DeMartin Registered User

    Jul 4, 2017
    711
    Kent
    Welcome to TP. A couple of other posters have had this problem with loved ones, one suggested idea is to refill wine bottles with low or zero alcohol wine.
     
  4. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    59,436
    Female
    Dundee
  5. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,759
    Salford
    I think that was probably me, I used to refill wine bottles with either red or white grape juice and she never knew the difference. When you have nothing else to occupy your mind then drinking and in my wife's case smoking too, just became a displacement activity, she did it because she couldn't think of anything better to do than ask for a drink.
    I just stuck some vodka in mine from a bottle of "water".
    K
     
  6. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    1,293
    Female
    South of the Border
    This is a very interesting post. My partner is very pedantic, and sticks to rigid habits - probably OCD.
    In the early days of suspecting something was not right with him, I noticed a pattern to his drinking ie early evening - beer, mid evening - wine, late evening - whisky.

    He felt the need to stand in the kitchen, alone, leaning against a worktop, drinking. Just before he became life threateningly ill, he was drinking almost a full bottle of the hard stuff each night. I could see it was habit, and worsening, but did not know what to do about it, being a non drinker myself.

    When his Crohn's disease was diagnosed, he was in hospital long enough to dry him out. After drastic surgery a year later, he still was not drinking.

    As the dementia has advanced and his behaviour become 'stranger' he insists on buying umpteen yoghurts of a certain kind from Aldi each week - an enabler takes him, as we have no car. In the last 3 weeks or so, he has started to bring bottles of wine home, and beer. But it is habit, I am sure.

    I think he is standing in Aldi, not quite sure what he is after, and buys these bottles and cans, which he does not really want because of a previously recalled habit.

    Who really knows?
     
  7. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,324
    East of England
    Yes I certainly do and have to resort to ridiculous lengths to stop my husband drinking too much alcohol. I used to try and reason and got very angry and upset, which doesn’t work, but now I just say that I am trying to keep him safe and he accepts that. His dementia consultant said that it was not necessary to stop him completely but to try to stick to 14 units a week because that’s easier to assess than by the day. I downloaded a drink app and keep a record and try to get him to have an alcohol free day with non-alcoholic drinks that day. We only have one bottle in the house at a time and fortunately he doesn’t drink during the day. He forgets how much he has had and keeps topping up. For example, he has his drinks and then I remove the bottle surreptitiously out of his sight so that he can’t do that. I caught him looking for it after I had carefully removed it, fortunately I had done it in time. Then I gently told him that he had had his wine and that I was taking care of him to make sure he didn’t get ill again. He can and does go out and buy it and I have to be very vigilant to control it. At one point I had three bottles hidden around in creative places, I can hardly believe it. I know that if I am out between 4 and 8 he will just keep on pouring and drinking and have had to stop going. I got a lot of advice on the forums and it’s a matter of finding out what works for you. I don’t drink either any more because I don’t feel good if I do nowadays. I won’t pretend it’s easy and it is very wearing but the alternative is worse.
     
  8. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,324
    East of England
    Very interesting because I am sure that my OH has developed this as a habit, although he has always liked a drink around 6pm, and now it’s related to sundowning when he is tired, bored and wants to ‘cheer himself up’. He is as regular as clockwork and by 8pm he wants to go to bed and the worst is over. He also ‘dried out’ when he was in hospital after collapsing when I was not with him and I am pretty sure it was alcohol related. He just doesn’t know how much he has had and keeps pouring.
     
  9. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    1,293
    Female
    South of the Border
    We are between a rock and a hard place aren't we? When my OH was in hospital for the first long time, I decided to remove all drink from the house - it was Christmas and there was quite a bit!

    I was very stressed at the time, and did not know what to do with it all, and had no one I wanted to trust with hiding it ( pride I suppose)

    At the bottom of the garden in our rented home, is a plastic water butt, that has builders rubble at the bottom of it - too heavy to move. Have you guessed? Yes, that's right - into the water butt went all the booze, still in bottles and cans!. Since that is has been covered in garden waste, and there is now a small fence closing off that part of the garden. It has all been there over 2 years now!! I do sometimes wonder, when it is discovered, goodness knows how many years from now, what the discoverer will think!!!!!!!!
     
  10. PetschekNYC

    PetschekNYC Registered User

    Apr 2, 2018
    10
     
  11. PetschekNYC

    PetschekNYC Registered User

    Apr 2, 2018
    10
    Thank you all for the suggestions. I tried diluting the wine today which she brought home this morning which seemed to work as there have not been any protestations!! Still tired and exhausted for bed by 5pm but only stayed asleep for an hour then had the usual time confusion thinking it was morning and needed to make coffee then head for Tesco to buy yet more wine. The ritual is the buying of it as much as the drinking but I'll happily settle for the expense if the unit consumption goes down through diluting half the bottle and pouring away the other half! Not sure this can always work though as when I'm back at work there's no one here to do the diluting.....
    Good to have the support of others who know what this is like
    Thanks again
     
  12. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,324
    East of England
    @PetschekNYC I know exactly how you feel having had a difficult alcohol evening myself after a stable period. It really sets you back when you think you are making headway, I keep making that mistake because he is/was such an intelligent person. Try again tomorrow.
     
  13. Ellaroo

    Ellaroo Registered User

    Nov 16, 2015
    161
    Liverpool
    Good idea, i rember mum having similar problem , drinking v fast and wanting more. I used to say , oh its all gone and make excuses why i couldnt go,out and buy some more .i wish id white lied sooner as didnt realise i could trick mum.
     
  14. Ellaroo

    Ellaroo Registered User

    Nov 16, 2015
    161
    Liverpool
    No fun at time but all stages and habits eventually pass . Some v good non alco bottles of wine which look convincing . Best wishes xxx
     
  15. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    1,293
    Female
    South of the Border
    Goodness! The more posts I read on TP and the more bizarre I feel the lives of the carers become!

    One of my issues is trying to keep our environment clean as he has a stoma that he cannot manage.

    You might laugh at this! I hope so!

    He has just been into the bathroom, and I went in to make sure the loo was relatively clean (!) and I discovered it was covered inside with something I did not recognise. At first I thought he had been trimming his ears/nose/sideburns - but didn't look right. So I asked him - and it was GRASS. Well, of course, a loo full of grass cuttings is exactly what you expect to find first thing in the morning.......... 'nuff said'

    and onwards we go......
     
  16. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    1,324
    East of England
    I really chuckled at that. Hope your day goes well x
     

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