Alcoholism in an aging parent

by Errin

My father has been an alcoholic his entire life, always functional.

A year and a half ago my mom passed away. Within a year my dad went from clean, tidy, organized, and orderly to falling apart.

He was living in one room of his house, sleeping on the floor, soiling himself and the furniture, clothing, and bedding.

His small dog used the house as a restroom. Mail piled up three feet high on the kitchen counter. Empty beer cans and rum bottles littered the living room. Empty food cans and gnats filled the kitchen. The restroom looked like an outhouse. He was unable to walk and falling constantly.He was not eating any food, only drinking rum and beer.

Since mom died, he was diagnosed depressed and taking medication for that. We believe he has dementia. His mother passed away from ALzheimer's when she was 69. My dad is 68.

My sister and I moved him into a senior apartment, not assisted living, because we did not see fully the whole picture.

We bought all new items, got a walker through medicare, and have friends who check in on him.
Within 2 months, the apartment manager has threatened eviction, and now tells me he has over 400 beer cans in the apartment and the dog is using the apartment as a restoom. The kitchen is full of gnats.

He also received a DUI in June and failed to attend the mandatory counseling classes. He has rescheduled them, but I have no faith he will attend. He
received another traffic ticket for turning too wide (that is what he tells me).

He keeps falling and can barely walk due to some blockage in his arteries in both legs.

My sister and I live out of his state at least 1200 miles away. We spent 2 weeks in June with him taking care of all things we deemed necessary.

We have called and met with his family doctor, called the Area Agency on Aging in his state, and are trying to get a home health care aide for him through medicaid. I have called APS on him, and they have visited. My only option left is the VA, as my dad served from 1964-1970.

We truly are at our wits end, because getting him hospitalized for a psychological evaluation, or even getting an Alzheimers evaluation is difficult because of the alcohol.

His family doctor says my sister and I need to get medical power of attorney, which from far away is not reasonable.

Most places tell me these are choices he is making, which I agree with one hundred percent.

My sister and I refuse to move him near us until he gets the alcohol issue cleared up, as we both have families who need attention.

He will never admit to or take care of the alcohol problem.

I am looking for any other advice, agencies, or information you can provide that I have not thought of.

It is wearing my sister and I out financially and emotionally.

Any advice would be welcome.

Thank you!

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