Is it wrong to water down the alcohol my dad with Alzheimer's drinks?

Janey in milford asked...

My father is Stage 5 Alzheimer's and soon to be 78. He likes to have a cocktail each night before he has been having a cocktail before dinner. However, recently he has been having more than the usual 1 or 2. Or making them in the morning. We have watered down his whiskey. He has NOT noticed, by one of my sisters is opposed to this. any thought???

Expert Answer

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

It may surprise you to hear that this is not an unusual question. Accolades to you for seeking ways to keep his alcohol consumption at a minimum. I am in complete accord with you about watering the whiskey and suggest you continue to do so while increasing the amount of water. Some caregivers have had great success by getting rid of the whiskey completely and replacing it with white grape or apple juice; others have replaced the stronger alcohol with a white wine/water mixture. Do chat with his doctor about your dad's consumption and pass his thoughts and recommendations on to your sister. Chances are she is feeling a sense of betraying his trust by watering his drinks and she needs to be reassured that these caregiving-decisions are what will keep him functioning at the best level for as long as possible - it is not about relationship, it is about the disease. The reason for your father's increased interest in cocktails is related to not remembering having already had a drink, nor being aware of the time of day at any given point during the day. Alcohol, Alzheimer's, depression or stress, and medications can be a harmful combination and need to be closely monitored. The side effects of increased alcoholic intake are quite different in a person with AD. Do take care of you and.......Cheers!