Auntie drinking a bottle of sherry a day....


Registered User
Mar 28, 2007
Have just found out that auntie is drinking a bottle of sherry a day. She seems to have lost the "stop" control somehow she just pours a mugful of sherry drinks it down forgets she's already had one and has another............ She's much more confused and aggressive when she's drunk, and that's when she does most of her wandering as well. Had a phone call lastnight from her friend who'd called to see her, which was a surprise itself as auntie tells all her friends and neighbours that I take things from her house when I visit and they tend to be a bit "abrupt" with me recently, anyway she was lying in bed sherry bottle at her side, didn't recognise her friend who was demanding on the phone that I do something about her immediately. I told her friend that if she was in bed chances were she'd sleep it off if left alone. and if she locked the door on the way out and popped the key back in through the letter box auntie wouldn't find the key till morning in daylight, and wouldn't be able to go out for a wander. Is it another phase? Will she get over it? And what on earth will she do next!!!


Registered User
Mar 22, 2007
oh dear

what a pain for you. Was she historically a drinker? my mother was a social drinker and that did seem to get a little bit too heavy but not on the scale u describe. In the nursing home she doesnt have access to it of course, but on visits to me we give her a thimbleful and that does seem to make her drunk and tearful very quickly.
Where is she getting her supplies from?? Is it worth gathering up the empty bottles, refilling them with some harmless low alcohol wine or similar and putting them back for her to find or pretending you nipped over to France and bulk bought for her??!!
would she notice she asnt actually drinking sherry if she doesnt remeber how much she has drunk? all a bit cloak and dagger but she relaly will have problems if she carries on like this!


Registered User
Apr 13, 2007
If it's dry sherry water it down with cranberry juice, may have to do gradually. Or, if sweet, try ribena.


Registered User
May 24, 2006
If she wants to drink Sherry by the bottle ........why stop her
its her life and it maybe thats her way of coping
I do not think we have a right to interfere


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hi Sleepy

Had the same problem with mum before she went into the NH. Mum was very much a ‘glass at Christmas’ lady. However when she was still able to go out on her own she started buying bottles and bottles of wine, drinking it all in one go, and getting herself into a right state, falling etc.

I contacted her Consultant about it, because whilst I had no problem with mum getting 3 sheets to the wind, she was hurting herself, and did become very very aggressive, well more than usual since the start of her AD. He suggested to me that it was sort of child like behaviour, in as much as she liked it, and didn’t want to share it, so polished off the whole flipping lot. At family gatherings, she would down a glass in one go, and ask for another, keeping her eye on the bottle to see how much was left, and who was getting a share, so I guess the doc had a point. But who really knows, may have been that, may not have been.

We basically got very devious, my bro used to keep a supply of alcohol free wine in his car. He used to visit mum every day, and simply swap over the bottles!! At family gatherings it didn’t matter is she got plastered because we could take care of her, put her to bed, and let her sleep it off.

Since she’s been in the NH she hasn’t once asked for a drink, and in fact, when we take her out she asks for orange juice. So in mum’s case it was just one of ‘those phases’.



Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Helena said:
I do not think we have a right to interfere
Sorry Helena, but that is both irresponsible and rather a silly thing to say. I agree it sounds good, but saying things for effect and talking sense are often not the same thing.

Here's a situation that might happen:

Auntie downs a bottle of Spain's best, then maybe another, and decides to go for a walk.

Partway down the road she sees a dog on the other side of the road. Whee! she makes a right turn across the road without looking.

Oncoming people carrier bringing 6 children home from school veers to miss her and goes head-on into oncoming lorry.

Would the parent(s) - or lorry driver - believe it might have been a good idea to 'interfere'?

Very little is done in complete isolation. Perhaps if she had been confined to a room you might want to let her drink herself to oblivion, but I'm assuming she is not so confined.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Just going on my own (or rather my Mother's) experience I also think there's the element of short-term memory loss to consider. My mother simply cannot remember that she's had one drink, so another isn't another, if you see what I mean: it's the first. Strangely, though, when she's had one (and only one) she actually sounds more "normal" at least at first glance. However, the fantasies are more likely to come out then. I suspect that she has these fantasies all the time, but the alcohol releases the inhibitions so she's more likely to come out with them. When sober, she is much quieter and has some inkling that some of the stuff that pops into her head isn't real.

Really, the only way to control this is to control access, I'm afraid.



Registered User
May 24, 2006
Ok Bruce take your point

The real crux of all this though is the sheer number of dementia patients who live alone and that neither the GP or hospital or social workers are interested in

What society should be doing is facing the reality of dementia much sooner and making nursing home care more available and affordable and enforcable

We seem to have gone from the extreme of Victorian times where people were locked up regardless to open house freedom for all and to heck with the effects on neighbours and relatives etc

The Human Rights Act has a lot to answer for

If the GPs had not hid behind that and taken action when i phoned them on 3 occasions before my Mothers fall an awful lot of problems could have been avoided plus none of use would have had to endure the 5 weeks of hell once they got her into hospital and fought so hard to treat the pneumonia

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi Sleepy, I too have had concerns about my mother's drinking ... the balance here as ever seems to be striving to maintain what independence and pleasure may be left whilst maintaining some control and exercising responsibility for their safety ....

Love some of the 'tactics' already mentioned here!!!!! :D My mother is a whisky fan - I try to make sure she has lower alcohol drinks in store ... advocaat .... wine even .... to divert her from too many 'hot toddies' ..... also have kept medics up to date with where I believe she is at ... apart from their physical safety if intoxicated with alcohol, it's the cocktail of drink and - if they are prescribed - very powerful drugs which are a huge concern .....

Soz, probably not much help .... just a hug ....

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Aug 11, 2005
South-East London, UK
I have been watering down my husband's wine with soda water (roughly half and half) for three or four years now. Restricts his intake and keeps him happy.



Registered User
Mar 28, 2007
Thanks for the suggestions everybody. Unfortunately as I don't live nearby its fairly hit and miss what I can do to help auntie, if I visit and the bottle is out I whip it out of the way and take it hoome with me, hoping she will forget it it for a while, but what she does then is go to the shops and buy another. Her friends hide bottles all over the place, or take then home with them as well! She always enjoyed a drink but never to excess like she does now. I hope its a phase and it passes

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
This drinking could literally be to drown sorrows, especially with those who live alone.

My mother was never a drinker, not even a social drinker. She had a drinks cupboard full of unopened bottles, especially miniatures, which she used to collect because she liked the shape of the bottles.

When she developed dementia, she began to drink snowballs. Because she wasn`t used to alcohol, they affected her pretty quickly. They sent her to sleep.

As she wasn`t driving, I turned a blind eye. If the drink helped block out her demons, she was welcome to it.


Registered User
Mar 28, 2007
This is my lunch break so I'll be quick. Since my post this AM , have had another phone call from one of her neighbours,, and also social worker has been on the phone as well (I won't get into trouble today as office manager is off thank goodness). Social worker agrees with me that the drink makes things worse, and also when she called with auntie this morning, auntie was very low, and tearful and generally wanted to be left alone in peace. A lot of her friends and neighbours mean well but do interfere


Registered User
Apr 19, 2006
Cheshire, UK.
Dear Sleepy,
It seems like a vicious circle, your poor auntie drinking, probably not remembering that she`d just had one so........has another.......and another, the result being.......Low moods, depression and feeling weepy. I`m not sure if it`s a phase or not as when my dad came to live with us he was already an alcoholic and was drinking a bottle of whiskey a night........which resulted in dad falling down stairs on a number of occasions and me sat in A&E with him until they could find him a bed so as they could deal with his fractures. I managed to get him off it last August (only because he had to go into hospital for an aneurism op.) The staff were very helpful and administered medication to wean dad off the alcohol. At Christmas, so he didn`t feel left out, i bought him non alcoholic beer, and Schloer (sp) he was so pleased to have "a drink" it made his Christmas. We did the same at Easter.
Could you buy bottles of Schloer for your Auntie, or would she know the difference between the two? How about non alcoholic Lager?
Hope this helps, i don`t think people realise how hard it is to support someone who drinks to excess unless they`ve experienced the devastation it can cause.
Good Luck in finding a compromise, thinking of you,

Jan. X