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Dad with Alzheimer's, Mam with alcoholism


Registered User
Jul 18, 2012
My Dad has early onset Alzheimer's. He's 60, still at work, but has damage in his frontal lobe, so socially he is often quite confused. He lives with my Mam who is an alcoholic. She had been sober for 18 months but I think my Dad's Alzheimer's is taking its toll and she's on a slippery slope. She's drinking all the time, but unless we get her some help, it's only a matter of time. Last night she told my Dad she was going to commit suicide if me and my sister didn't stop asking her to stop drinking. He got very upset and doesn't know what to do. Neither do we. It was an empty threat and was definitely the booze talking, but it's still very worrying that she'd even say that to him.

I live about 300 miles away from my parents and my sister (and her family). Both my sister and I have very young children and we both work, so we're really struggling to figure out what to do. We can't persuade my Mam to go to AA and she's had counselling from the NHS before, but that didn't work. Meanwhile my Dad can't understand why his wife is so different when she's had a drink. He gets it sometimes, but not other times.

We're also worried about her spending all their money. They have recently cashed in their private pensions and are sitting on quite a nest egg. Their house needs central heating and a downstairs toilet installed for when Dad gets worse, but Mam doesn't want to spend the money on anything practical. She says she would never put Dad in a home, but at the same time she won't let us plan how we might look after him at their house. We are so frustrated and frightened and don't know what to do.

I've talked to his Alzheimer's nurse today, but I'm not sure how helpful that is. It's such a complicated problem.

If anyone has any advice, I'd be really grateful for it.



Registered User
Mar 2, 2012
Oh dear, I'm sorry to say I'm familiar with this problem. But we had Dad who was the (long-term) alcoholic and Mum with dementia living together. Throw in a hate filled relationship and his history of verbal/physical abuse and it was a recipe for disaster. I first came on this site about 2 years ago desperate for advice. Unfortunately this is a situation which will warrant the intervention of SS and admission to care much earlier than might otherwise be the case.

To cut a long story short Mum was eventually removed from the house into care and the alcoholic was left to live as he pleased. Mum used to be his 'carer'-I mean by that lifter upper off the floor and cleaner upper of unmentionable messes. But when we needed him to care for her, at least a little, he was unable to because of his situation.

It's actually worse than them living alone as an alcoholic impedes care and adds a few troubles of their own into the mix.

On the plus side-we found her a lovely supported living facility where she lived for a year before recently moving to a nursing home. We did get a bit more peace when she moved out but obviously had two people to look out for as my Dad was a liability living on his own with no supervision.

Sorry have to fly now but will check back in later.


Registered User
Mar 2, 2012
Hello deza...
Me again. I wanted to add that there are others on here that have experience of these two problems. And I wanted to bump this up the list again in the hope that they might have something valuable to offer. You probably feel, as I did, that you must be the only person in the world with the bad luck to be stuck in this kind of a mess but by reading the posts you will see that there are so many other kinds too.

I was thinking would your Mum listen to a professional? ie: social worker or CPN or GP telling her that she needs to be strong for your Dad and his needs and that if she continues drinking that it will lead to a home placement sooner, which is exactly what she doesn't want. I know you have to be so delicate when dealing with drinkers and talking to them about it. I also think that someone should know about your Mum's suicidal threats. GP, social worker, CPN. We had these too with my Dad when he was confronted.

My Mum was known to SS as a vulnerable adult due to neighbours reporting disturbances in the house-due to my Dad's drinking. So when we got a definite diagnosis of dementia I wasn't slow about letting them know exactly what my Dad was like and what was going on on a weekly basis. I couldn't deal with anymore at that time and was glad to offload. BUT the consequences were that she was eventually removed from the house. Horrible at the time but in hindsight the best thing. I went on holiday and came back to find her in a home as neighbours had yet again been concerned and called the police. And that was when my brother was keeping a close eye on them. So even if you live nearby, you can't prevent a crisis.

Seems like madness when I look back on it now. I wouldn't go back to it for the world. Keep posting to let us know how you get on.



Registered User
What I'm going to say will sound harsh, I apologise. I hope I don't offend you too much.

But, if your mum can't look after herself, she can't look after a person with dementia. It is a full on job. Incredibly hard, incredibly stressful, and requires an amazing amount of self restraint and self discipline not to lose it when they say and do a million silly things over and over again.

I would be trying to get them separated so that your dad can get the care he needs. You can't expect someone with an alcohol addiction to immediately snap out of it and start doing one of the hardest jobs in the world. Perhaps this job is just out of her range of capability. If she threatens suicide to scare you out of putting the hard word on her, she obviously hasn't the mental maturity to deal with something of this size.

Maybe they won't have much money, but your dad deserves a level of care that I don't think an addict can provide. As time goes on, it gets harder and harder, and more and more complex.

I feel for you, it's a seemingly impossible situation you find yourself.


Registered User
Feb 10, 2010
See if either both of them or at least your dad will give you and your sister lasting power of attorney. One for finances and one for health and welfare. You can get the forms here..https://www.justice.gov.uk/forms/opg/lasting-power-of-attorney. This would then let you and your sister gain a measure of control over finance decisions etc as well as sorting out their care needs in the future. Maybe there is a family friend that can sign the certificate to say they understood what they were signing. Doesn't mean that they have to remember, just at the time is all that is needed. Maybe your mum will sign hers if she sees your dad doing his.