Wednesday Workshop – Alzheimer’s and Alcohol

Wednesday Workshop – Alzheimer’s and Alcohol

Wednesday Workshop - Alzheimer's and AlcoholFor most of us an occasional glass of wine, beer or spirit should not cause any significant problem unless your doctor has specifically told you or a loved one with Alzheimer’s not to. The alcohol ban might be because of a specific illness or condition or it may be contraindicated with medications being taken. Sometimes the ban is because the person with Alzheimer’s has a history of drug/alcohol abuse.

Alcohol affects judgment. It can cause people to act in dis-inhibited ways. At its worst alcohol becomes an active ingredient in acts of domestic and criminal violence, in all different types of antisocial behavior. If you have someone whose disease is causing brain damage, such as Alzheimer’s, then alcohol may adversely affect or exaggerate problem behaviors.

We are all individuals and that, of course, does not change because someone has Alzheimer’s disease. But it does affect memory, the way a person processes information, confidence and mood. It can also affect mobility and if someone’s balance is already poor even small amounts of alcohol may increase the risk of falls and broken bones.

Some people with Alzheimer’s will not mind being reminded that they should not drink or they have to restrict their intake,yet others may. Caregivers have to make a judgement on how they are going to handle the situation.

The stage of Alzheimer’s will influence the way caregivers develop some coping strategies. Diluting alcohol or replacing bottle contents may need to be considered. There are lots of great alcohol free drinks, including wines and beers, and most older people love sweet flavors. It may be about providing strategies at social occasions that will help someone with Alzheimer’s feel included and not show up their deficits in a demeaning way.

For those who are caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to monitor their alcohol intake. Allowing someone with Alzheimer’s to drink too much can cause further memory impairment and speed up the progression of their disease. In order to improve your loved one’s quality of life, you should make sure that they do not consume too much alcohol on a daily basis so that their disease will not progress too quickly. Limiting your loved one’s consumption of alcohol can also make caring for them easier by decreasing the likelihood that they will become agitated during the times that they need help or care.

Be sure that you know what moderate drinking is for your weight, age and gender or for your loved one that you are providing care for so that you can avoid alcohol abuse that could lead to cognitive impairment. When it comes to drinking alcohol keep in mind the tips from this article so that you can drink responsibly and in moderation and hopefully prevent yourself from developing Alzheimer’s disease or help a loved one slow the progression of their disease.