Drinking in old age
anonymous Asks ...
I am worried about my grandfather's drinking but I am also confused about some things. My Grandfather immigrated from Spain about 15 years ago after my gradmother died to live with my mom and our family. He drinks all day long.
He drinks some sort of brandy with his coffee every morning and he goes to this social club every day where he just chats with these other old Spanish guys and he has a flask that he uses to add liquor to his coffee. Then at home it is wine with lunch and wine with dinner. I am learning that more than 5 drinks a day is dangerous but he must drink way more than that everyday but he never seems drunk at all. Is he an alcoholic that needs alcohol addiction treatment?
Jill Edwards Says ...
Thank you very much for your question. I wonder how old your grandfather is. Certainly he seems to have a settled round of activities, which give him a good social life which maintains his connections with his Spanish way of life and he is I am sure following patterns which have been followed by generations of old men before him. He is very likely drinking more than medically advised, however his body has probably adjusted to it and it would be inadvisable to stop drinking suddenly at any point. Before he would think about changing his behaviour, he would need to notice that there were some negative effects and you have not mentioned any. If he would allow it, it might be good to have a medical check up, perhaps a liver function test, but as always you have to have a persons permission for him to go and do this. Just let him know that heavier drinking could affect his health and he should at least see a doctor if he feels unwell at all, especially coughing up blood or bleeding from the stool. Some people may disagree with me, but I believe that people change when they are ready and your grandfather is enjoying his old age in the way he wants to and he may die a year or two earlier because of it, but I doubt whether he will change now. Thank you for introducing him to me in this way. Best wishes to you both.