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Can someone with dementia have any alcohol?

My mom is 96 and has been in frail care for about two months now. This followed two months in hospital with critically low levels of sodium and potassium and heart-related problems. She is too frail for surgery and is on medication for thyroid, hypertension and high blood pressure. When I bring her out for a visit or celebration, is it safe to give her alcohol? So far I have only given her non-alcoholic apple flavoured "beer". She used to enjoy a glass of wine or a weak whiskey.
Status: Open    Dec 13, 2015 - 10:27 AM

Dementia, Senior Health & Nutrition

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Dec 18, 2015 - 08:28 AM

It’s great that you continue to care for your mother and take her for visits with friends or family. And you should continue to give her non-alcoholic “beer” instead of any wine or whiskey. Your mom has a lot of conditions that make it unsafe for her to drink alcohol. She is very high risk for a fall given all the other conditions she has, and alcohol would make a fall more likely. And because of her dementia alcohol could make her more confused. Lastly, alcohol can make high blood pressure worse and can affect potassium levels.
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By laurabel on Nov 01, 2016 - 08:57 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

My 89 year old mother with moderate dementia found an 8oz can of margarita drink with alcohol in the refrigerator door that was inadvertently left over from a barbecue. She must have thought it was juice. Later that day she was hallucinating. She took all of the framed photos and paintings off the walls in the living room and dining room because she was "going back home" to her mother (who passed away in 1960). We did not see her drink the margarita, but we found the empty can in the trash. I would not advise even a small amount of alcohol for a dementia patient.

By buccy54 on Nov 02, 2016 - 01:32 PM | Like (1)  |  Report

How distressing that must have been for you. After a year since submitting my first query I'm happy to say that my mother hasn't missed having alcohol at all. I took the advice to give her non-alcoholic beer (apple flavoured) and she enjoys it very much, even knowing that it contains no alcohol. I have also found that having a strict routine with as little change as possible keeps her stable and more her old self and even helps her short-term memory. But it seems to me that there are no rules for dementia and the human brain remains one of the greatest mysteries. I heard someone refer to dementia as a "carer's disease" because it affects the carer rather than the person who "has" it. How true!

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Dec 18, 2015 - 08:28 AM

It’s great that you continue to care for your mother and take her for visits with friends or family. And you should continue to give her non-alcoholic “beer” instead of any wine or whiskey. Your mom has a lot of conditions that make it unsafe for her to drink alcohol. She is very high risk for a fall given all the other conditions she has, and alcohol would make a fall more likely. And because of her dementia alcohol could make her more confused. Lastly, alcohol can make high blood pressure worse and can affect potassium levels.
Comments (2) | New Comment

By laurabel on Nov 01, 2016 - 08:57 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

My 89 year old mother with moderate dementia found an 8oz can of margarita drink with alcohol in the refrigerator door that was inadvertently left over from a barbecue. She must have thought it was juice. Later that day she was hallucinating. She took all of the framed photos and paintings off the walls in the living room and dining room because she was "going back home" to her mother (who passed away in 1960). We did not see her drink the margarita, but we found the empty can in the trash. I would not advise even a small amount of alcohol for a dementia patient.

By buccy54 on Nov 02, 2016 - 01:32 PM | Like (1)  |  Report

How distressing that must have been for you. After a year since submitting my first query I'm happy to say that my mother hasn't missed having alcohol at all. I took the advice to give her non-alcoholic beer (apple flavoured) and she enjoys it very much, even knowing that it contains no alcohol. I have also found that having a strict routine with as little change as possible keeps her stable and more her old self and even helps her short-term memory. But it seems to me that there are no rules for dementia and the human brain remains one of the greatest mysteries. I heard someone refer to dementia as a "carer's disease" because it affects the carer rather than the person who "has" it. How true!

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Dec 28, 2015 - 08:43 AM

My mother is 94 and had always loved a drink when out with family. Lately, because of her unsteady balance, she has switched to virgin versions of the drinks she once loved. Non alcoholic Pina Coladas and strawberry daiquiris are a favorite of hers. They look festive and taste great.
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