Sunday, February 8, 2009

old and drunk

Whenever pension cheques come out the drunk tank fills up with those over sixty five, many of whom are definitely elderly.  Some of them are still quite spry, but others are just WAY to old to be sleeping in a cold cell on an inch thick mat.  And yet, every pension day, there they are, drunk as anything and creating a fuss or making a "nusiance" of themselves somewhere.  Often it's as simple as they can't get themselves home because they're too drunk to walk.  I have one person who forgets to use her walker when she's drinking and forget's she can't walk well without it.  She holds it in one hand and carries it.  

And then, then there's mr. nicholas.  Somehow, he manages to get drunk almost every day.  He hobbles in with his walker, usually after passing out somewhere, landing at the hospital and getting picked up by the police.  Everyone knows mr. nicholas, he's a fixture.  And sadly, he has no memory left.  He often does not remember that he has an apartment in a nice area or even where that area might be.  What he remembers, is how to drink, and drink he does.  I'm not sure there's a record for drunk tank admissions, but I think he'd probably get it.  

What do you do with a person like that?  He spent some time in psych after being declared incompetant, but you can't hold him forever.  Once he was "stabalized" he was found really nice housing and set free.  He returned right back to where he was, drinking on the strip.  If he was placed in a nursing home I suppose he'd have to be locked in the way my grandmother is.  Only in her case, she thinks the nursing home is a nice hotel and that she still lives at home.  

The thing is, the guy is happy.  This is his life, and this is what he likes to do.  The problem is, it's a drain on the system.  He drinks, he passes out, someone calls an ambulance, then there's the hospital work up, then the police car ride and then the drunk tank fee.  And once he's released, the cycle starts all over again.  

and again
and again
and again


cb said...

I've seen very similar situations. The thing is, that forcing someone to do something that will just make them more confused or miserable doesn't feel right - but then.. well, it's always about those kinds of balances.

Still Dreaming said...

exactly. It's hard to figure out that balance sometimes. I'm only glad I'm not the one who has to figure it out!