Elderly alcoholic becoming violent

Hiya! Hope you are all ok…not sure if this is the right place to post but hopefully someone can advise.

Long story short: 70 year old father is a chronic alcoholic. Drinks upwards of a litre of whisky a day. Multiple serious physical and mental health conditions. Been verbally very abusive to (78 year old) wonderful mum for years. Sister is in police and I am former NHS and between us we have involved and got access to every possible service and agency known to man (and probably a few that aren’t!). Dad in total denial and now has suspected dementia. Had a TIA on Tuesday. He’s been medically detoxed twice in the last twelve months, lost his licence, has seizures if he doesn’t drink and it’s all basically horrendous. We have all given up now on stopping him drinking as he simply doesn’t want to and doesn’t see there is a problem. Life for mum is horrendous and whilst he has never been physically violent last night he threw a load of stuff at her. Sister and I feel that this is just the start of his behaviour escalating and are v concerned re mums safety. Already got adult safeguarding/ SS etc involved. He refuses to move out of their lovely flat and mum doesn’t want to which I quite understand and support. She now just wants him to leave. He can’t look after himself but no supported housing place (if one were available) would take him because of his drinking. We would rent privately but he will not be able to do anything for himself and we’d basically ends up running two households. Need to get him out of the house and SOMEWHERE but no idea where. Can’t throw him on the council as technically he’s not homeless and he IS vulnerable (deaf and PTSD due to army)…anyone any ideas what we could do to find alternative accommodation that would meet his needs?

Many thanks in advance (there is a whole lot more back story and context to this but the summary is that it’s all horrendous and he needs to move out) all advice much appreciated…

MUM is clearly at risk.
I would suggest installing a covert camera, and recording anything you see that worries you or he says on your mobile.
Does mum have a Lifeline or any sort of pendant alarm?
Is there a neighbour she could turn to in case of dire emergency?

Thank you. Mum is already on with the filming and recording (she’s very switched on like that) she refuses to have a pendant…neighbours are very good…to be fair this has been going on for YEARS and mum has coped but now she is just at the end of her tether and wants him out. We just don’t know where we can send him to! He’s still got capacity so nursing home is out (well that’s out because he wouldn’t go and they wouldn’t have him because of the drinking), supported living out for the same reasons, council out because he’s not homeless, private renting out because he couldn’t look after himself and would probably burn the place down. Only thing I can think of is some sort of halfway house but he’s not a bad man and when he was normal he was wonderful and is very vulnerable and he would be scared and I don’t want to be cruel as he doesn’t deserve that…just don’t know what we can do with him…

Has mum considered getting a divorce?

Hi Katie,

Your poor Mum.

It sounds like you and your sister have explored every avenue.

Could he get support/ services/ accommodation for veterans?


Goodness, what a horrendous situation. My own mother is an alcoholic (also many many years) but I refuse to see her. My step-dad is her carer (& enabler…) but they’ve cut themselves off from everyone & I don’t need to witness it so you have my sympathies.

What have ASS / safeguarding said so far? It shouldn’t have to get to the point where someone is physically injured to get someone removed from a property. Can Mum possibly take out an injunction on him and then SS HAVE to find somewhere for him. If he has to move out, which it sounds like he does, it is not your responsibility to care for him if you don’t want to. If carers won’t then come to him through fear etc then there is nothing you can do if he won’t accept help.

How mobile is he? Can he walk to the shop etc? What have the doctors suggested about managing his alcohol intake so that it doesn’t cause seizures?

There are units / homes for people with challenging behaviours but only as you say, if he loses capacity or is subject to a DOLS.
Otherwise he is ultimately responsible & unfortunately could mean he’ll make decisions that affect his health & potentially endanger his life. What he can’t do is endanger anyone else’s and I would assume that’s where the police & SS need to be working together for a solution (so it’s great that you have an insider with knowledge!) It’s “just” a case of getting them to act and giving them enough grief about potential harm etc, that they do something quickly.

Sending strength x

Thanks everyone…

Re divorce: yes me and mum have already met with a solicitor to find out where she stands financially. They are wealthy (which is part of the problem because money is NOT an issue). Because they have been married 48 years it would just be a straight split down the middle. But (and I agree) she doesn’t see the point in a costly divorce as neither will remarry so a separation would be best. I’m glad we met with solicitor as at least mum is not thinking she will be destitute and knows where she stands. Dad doesn’t know about meeting and is busy threatening her with how she can have the flat but he will have all the savings/ pensions etc. To be fair it works out about even and that is sort of what we had decided anyway…but then when you actually try and discuss it properly with him he just gets super aggressive and starts shouting about how he is not leaving HIS home and we are all going to be cut out of the will etc…it’s a vicious circle…plus mum (and I also get this) doesn’t want to have to start all over again at the age of 78 when she has done nothing wrong…

Re veterans support services: yep tried them all…combat stress only really wants to deal with younger people, British legion have been useless from the get go (part of the root cause is that he was blown up in NI and medically discharged with no support from the army or them), tried local veterans groups but he’s not ‘a joiner’ and quite frankly has no interest in anything other than drinking.

Re injunction: really difficult as he hasn’t ACTUALLY physically attacked her and mum is still struggling with the whole ‘if he could just go back to how he was’ and doesn’t want to be mean thing. Classic victim mentality from someone who is the victim of coercive abuse.

Sister chucked toys out yesterday (she is a DS in, ironically, the adult safeguarding unit of the police). She has referred it to same unit in GMP as both feel that this behaviour needs a short sharp shock before it escalated further. Got GMP coming to interview mum at mine tomorrow where I will make sure they are fully appraised of the situation. He’s had a letter today saying that the DVLA want to assess him to see if he is fit to drive (which he isn’t) he will go ballistic if they take his licence off him but his GP has to do the assessment and his GP and I are in regular contact and he is fully aware of the situation so I know full well he will not let him keep it. Which in itself creates further problems as, like last time he lost it, he just bullied everyone around him into driving him everywhere because he couldn’t possibly miss out on something he wants to do. If he doesn’t get what he wants (including whisky) he has massive temper tantrums and sulks for days and makes everyone’s lives a misery. I’m hoping this interview tomorrow will start some sort of formal intervention off as I feel he needs sectioning…

He should not be driving!
If he has temper tantrums, are these all recorded? It’s clearly coercive control and domestic abuse.

I’m on Bowling Bun’s wave length again! Temper tantrums or not, he shouldn’t be coercing & bullying people to drive him around or do anything for him without some change in behaviour. And it goes without saying that he should definitely not be driving. I reported my own dad to DVLA and had his licence revoked temporarily when he had major surgery on both legs but I had long refused to get in the car with him. He was so angry with me and threatened to take a crow bar to his 3 week old car or then to go to DVLA with the crow bar (he doesn’t like the Welsh anyway so of course it would be their fault and not his). He went to the GP repeatedly, got his friends involved to say he was fine, I happened to be at his house when he got the final final NOPE and he went as ballistic as he could manage with his mobility issues. Ironically it was the diabetes that did for his licence, not his appalling driving & slow responses, but he was very unpleasant for a while and I’d be worried about your mum particularly in that similar situation.

Separating instead of divorcing is fine as long as the solicitors can protect your mum and that might involve getting your dad on side. How are the wills drawn up for example? If Mum has the property & he has the savings and pensions what will she live on? Also, the value of property now is very high but it’s stalled now and will see a downturn, especially after the fall out from last week. She doesn’t have to start over, doesn’t even have to change her name or anything, nothing has to change apart from getting him out of the house so she can relax and actually have a life.

I’m glad your sister has the best kind of connections - it’s invaluable. I really hope they can do something positive for her and all of you. Let us know how you gel on x

I’m not a solicitor, but the problem with separation is that it doesn’t carry the legal status (as far as I’m aware) on splitting of resources, which means he can more likely carry out some of his threats? Did the solicitor explain otherwise (in which case relief), or not mention anything about it, in which case, check?