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Medication help
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 4:00 PM
Joined: 1/8/2019
Posts: 3

IM new to the forum I care for my mother who is a retired nurse. She's very independent and I try to let her have that but having troubles with her taking meds any ideas on a dispenser. We tried a round disk dispenser but that didn't work well it was only a week and it didn't always alarm so I would love any assistance I've seen many but not sure which is the best. Also she has arthritic fingers
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 6:22 PM
Joined: 2/29/2016
Posts: 1268

There are lots of fancy dispensers on the market with all sorts of bells and whistles. Bottom line, with advancing dementia and cognitive changes, they don't work. Taking medications requires a series of steps: knowing what time they need to be taken, recognizing the alarm as an indicator that medication must be taken, extracting the pills from the pillbox or device, getting something to drink, swallowing the pills. In addition to not taking pills, problems can occur with taking too many or doses from another day. The safest way to ensure that she is taking her medication is for you or someone else to dispense them to her each day.
"blue" Wolverine
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 7:05 PM
Joined: 1/8/2019
Posts: 1

I'm new to this forum and have been learning first hand via "drinking from the firehose" the past 3+ weeks since symptoms first showed on my DW and advanced ridiculously quickly since.  I found using lots of individual pill pouches handy.  I first fill one of those multi-dose containers with all the meds needed and them transfer them to the pouches with each day and dosage time clearly shown.  I created one for each dose for each day of the week and leave them available to my DW when it is time (each dosage is set to an alarm on her tablet).  We have some challenges still, but it has worked mostly well though I am sure it will get tougher over time.  Hope this helps.
Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 7:43 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7036

Welcome to our world epeacock. I'm so glad you found our site.

in my opinion, the best of medicine dispensers only work for a time. Time for you to figure out what Plan B is. I would guess if she is having problems figuring out her meds there are other problems.
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 11:49 PM
Joined: 8/29/2018
Posts: 2

I have a pill organizer, has morning ,noon ,evening, bedtime. Sunday thru Saturday. I organize the pills for one week for each day, Then I remined Her to take her pills. this way I can see what she has taken . when I ask her to take them I make sure to say Tuesday morning or Tuesday night etc. So far is working, She also understands if that compartment is empty she's ok. We keep a schedule when she takes them. If your afraid of them getting in to them at wrong time then I guess you would have to give them to them by hand I like it because I get the pills taken care of for the week  Hope this helps. BR
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 12:16 AM
Joined: 12/21/2014
Posts: 503

I dispense daily meds at breakfast and supper for both my parents. I also fill their pill boxes weekly.

Mom had advanced AD but dad doesn't.  However, he is getting more and more forgetful and I realized about a month ago he is forgetting to take some meds, so I took over that role. 

Now I just have to remember to give him his meds - he typically eats both breakfast and supper earlier than I feed mom so I don't always remember to give him his meds.  A few more weeks, though, and I'm sure this old dog will figure out this new trick, too.

D in law
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 9:23 AM
Joined: 4/24/2017
Posts: 523

Probably the best answer is for someone to physically dispense meds, and do not leave meds within sight of a PWD.

I will say though, there is some time in the earlier stages where a PWD can possibly remain independent to take their meds with a mechanical dispenser.  If you are going to use one it can also be a tool to document just when a decline in function happens.  I used the med-minder dispenser and my MIL did well with it for about 4 months.  After that time, something either happened with her short term and her curiosity about the machine got the best of her, or she simply lost the concept of the steps, as there were quite a few to do.  So, as I began to get many text messages regarding the missteps I knew it was time to change. I then used pill pouches and left a day or two worth out of sight of MIL for other caregivers to dispense (NOTE:  Some agencies will not allow caregivers to dispense meds from a container, some can only do reminders)  or other family members to dispense and I did the rest of time. 

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 10:14 AM
Joined: 1/8/2019
Posts: 3

Thanks for all the advice I guess deep down I already knew the answer it's just so hard to take over, Not the best way to put it but I have really been trying to be more assertive and explain to her everything we do is for her safety but sometimes I become the little kid again and let her have things the way she wants. I think I'll start going by every morning and evening and give her the medications. I'll just have to sit her down and explain why and that I'm not her "baby sitter" she is so independent which makes it so hard because she knows a lot of time I'll give in but I think coming to the forum will help me become a better care giver. Thanks for all the advise


Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 11:14 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 1457

There's a truism here that by the time you are ready to consider an automated medication dispenser, it's really time for a human to dispense and verify that medication is being taken- not left on a breakfast plate, hidden in the sofa cushions or tucked in a drawer for later. 

At best, this will by you a brief time. Depending on what medications she takes, she could get into trouble before you expect it. Who does she live with? Are they available to make sure she takes her meds? 

Susie J.
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 12:53 PM
Joined: 1/3/2019
Posts: 6

what do you do when your LO (my best friend) has been addicted to opiates and sedatives for her entire adult life and now her son, who lives with her, has to dispense her medications, which include opiates and sedatives and antidepressants.   I hear from both of them several times a week that they've totally had it with the other one.  Her livid, hateful,  complaint, "He's being mean to me.  why does he have to control my medications, I can do it".  He..." I can't take it any more, I just think I'll let her have them".  Of course, if he does that she will overdose because she can't remember when she took what ever or what it is for.  She is doing Ok at home except for this problem and it seems a shame to put her in a facility if this is the only problem.  But it is a BIG one and so far I havn't heard any suggestions beyond when a dispenser doesn't work any more a person has to do it.  But what do you do when the person isn't working either and it is causing extreme distress to the LO.  Are there services you can pay for who will come into the house a couple times a day to give meds?????
D in law
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:26 PM
Joined: 4/24/2017
Posts: 523

Susie, sorry your friend is in distress over her meds.  I would 1st suggest that BOTH the son and the Mom attend a Dr's appt and go over the meds-what they are and proper dosage. Maybe one of them needs a dosage adjustment, or even elimination and that may help calm things? See if the son can make the Doc the bad guy?  The son should know he is definitely doing the right thing and to remember that!  Don't let her words override a task that needs to be done properly.  Easier said than done, I know.  If trying a different approach doesn't work, maybe another person would work, although that may also take some time.  I can't really answer for paying someone to come in and do it, different places have different rules as there is a lot of liability involved.  I would think that person would need to have some level of medical certification.  Never hurts to inquire for her sake.   Try one of the bigger pharmacies.  Good luck to you.
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 2:01 PM
Joined: 1/8/2019
Posts: 3


Yes she lives alone, I live about 5 min. from her I have other siblings but it pretty much falls on me, so I'm going to work it out that I go and give them to her, after reading everyone's response that's really the best way. I have asked the Dr. if we could maybe not take all the vitamins she's been taking. I have such a hard time being stern with her (she knows it to) after reading all the posts it make sense to just make sure I give them to her because I have found some on the floor and in the couch, I worry the most about her blood thinner that's the most important. For 82 she only really takes 4 pills and then about 6 vitamins so if we can maybe reduce some of the vitamins that will be better. This forum has been really helpful thanks for all the advice I will take it all. Sometimes you know the answer but it's good to hear it from other caregivers going through the same process.



Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 2:51 PM
Joined: 1/2/2019
Posts: 7

I completely understand your situation.  My brother lives with my dad and unfortunately, can't be relied on.  He was on board in the beginning and would do a few things to help out, but his anger and depression issues are a huge problem.  We never know when it will be a good day or bad day for him.  It really sucks, because I live 20 minutes away.  I don't get any help from my other two siblings either.  We tried the locking pill dispenser, but my dad was constantly unlocking it and it broke.  He also had trouble hearing the alarm.  When my brother was helping to fill the dispenser it wasn't a problem.  So... I had to go back to the weekly AM/PM dispenser.  My dad fills this one himself and I call him every other day and ask if he has taken his meds. He always tells me "I have been doing this for years, so it's automatic for me." : ) He has forgotten the PM pills a few times. Even though he has calendars in the house, he will forget what day of the week it is.  I have been considering moving him to AL.  This has been extremely stressful for me.  He can still shower, make simple meals, do household chores and take his medications.  This disease is just awful!! So heartbreaking! I wish you luck.
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 2:59 PM
Joined: 1/2/2019
Posts: 7

Epeacock, it's hard to take over.  They want to be independent and they don't understand or even know that they have memory issues.  I have to be creative when it comes to the driving.  He will fight me on it occasionally, and then I have to remind him why he can't drive.  I have pretty much taken over everything now.  It truly sucks not having help from other family members! I'm so thankful that I have my DH's support.
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 3:56 PM
Joined: 1/9/2019
Posts: 1

Our father recently had a stroke and is in the hospital. He is medically cleared to be discharged but because his behavior is agitated and aggressive, we are having a hard time finding a place that will take him. He was previously at home with our mother as his caregiver but she cannot continue to take care of him. Has anyone been in a situation like this? The hospital has offered a two week stay in their senior behavioral health unit to work on medicating him into better behavior but in that unit they only allow visits for an hour at lunch and an hour at dinner. We are not too sure about that, the idea that he will be alone so much. He’s been in the hospital two weeks now and we feel like they should have been more aggressive with this during this time. Instead they’ve been giving him shots of Ativan (since he pulls out his IVs).
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