How can alcohol affect dementia and interact with medication?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My 75 year old mother-in-law has been diagnosed with dementia but I don't know what type. She is prescribed some medication for it (I don't know what). My concern is that she drinks a few alcoholic beverages each day. Your thoughts on it's effect on her dementia would be appreciated.

Expert Answer

Ladislav Volicer, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized as an international expert on advanced dementia care. He is a courtesy full professor at the School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, and visiting professor at the Third Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Twenty-five years ago, he established one of the first dementia special care units.

You do not provide enough information for me to answer your question. There are some medications that should not be taken when drinking but others are OK. Also, how many are "few" beverages?

In any case, people with dementia tolerate less the effects of alcohol and if they drink as much as they did before they developed dementia, they may have problems. Otherwise, moderate alcohol intake will not affect dementia progression.