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Getting mom to take her meds-help!
Your mom has anosognosia. Meaning, she is unaware of the extent of her impairments. Learn work-arounds from the members here.
The day I caught my mom almost taking a second dose of her meds (3 blood pressure and one thyroid) I took them away from her. By the next day she was freaking out because "Where are my meds?!?" My solution was to take her pill bottles and replace the meds inside each of them with look-alikes of mints, smarties and tic tacs. I now manage a weekly pillbox hidden away in my room and fill a small pill box with her meds for the day. These are slipped into a dish each morning and evening. The dish might sit around til noon some days, but she does eventually take them. And if she happens to take the look-alikes when shes up during the night or early morning, I just tell her the pills in the dish are her noon pills. By evening she has forgotten what she has taken and the evening pill goes down with dinner.
When I arrived at her house over a month ago I found 10 bottles of pills that had not been taken. ExpressScripts does a good job of refilling her meds, but they were starting to pile up because she was forgetting to take them or simply not take them because "I don't need those pills." The drug takeback box got a large donation within the first week of my moving in.
Welcome to our world, Eli. I'm so glad you found us.
There was such a diagnosis as Mild Cognitive Impairment. I do believe the name has changed. However, when you are speaking of your mom being in stage 4 or 5, she has progressed to dementia. Is she under the care of a neurologist who specializes in dementia?
Aricept is not designed to cure but to slow down the progression of the disease. Do check with the pharmacist to see if this and her other med can be crushed and put in apple sauce or other food. She is, from what you write, past the point where she should be managing her own meds.
Thank you. This is so surreal because as I sit there talking to her, she looks like mom but I don’t know when she’s aware and when she isn’t. As I said, i 6 hours away and my dad doesn’t have the mobility to prepare her meals or slip them into a dish with any regularity. She had always cooked for him so I’m sure she would be suspicious of that I guess we r both terrified of her thinking we are conspiring against her. I am going to print this three and send everything to him, however.
About the same problems with DW (stage 5-6) and her meds. Have cut back a bunch of her meds after speaking with PCP.
One thing that I found that works for us is having me setting up a weekly pill box and having me also give them out. She was having trouble getting pills down and would hold them in her mouth and spit some out later when I was not looking. Solved that problem by crushing them up into powder and putting them into pudding, yogurt, etc. Then the only thing I had to do was making sure she ate the stuff. The only caution is not to crush the extended release medication.
There is no way she could figure out setting up the pill box, or taking them. That stopped over a year ago.
My MIL takes risperidone for agitation and anxiety. We can also give her ativan on as needed basis for agitation issues. There are several other drugs that are used for these and other dementia related issues. Your mother may never have to take them, but it seems that at some point during this process, many PWDs will have to take something.You probably won't be able to convince her that someone else will need to "take over" the medicine. Even if you were able to right after you read this, it is quite likely that she would forget it by the morning. After a while, you learn that it just isn't worth your time or energy to try and rationally or logically have a conversation about issues like this.She is probably going to get angry with you and your father many, many times during her journey with dementia. I've been cussed out for making my MIL a sandwich for lunch. She told my wife she was a horrible mother because we moved our bedroom closer to hers. It's a crappy part of the process.
Our mother was diagnosed about 2 years ago. Luckily your pharmacy provides a service that we call bubble packs. they put all mom's meds in these bubble packs for the month, the correct dosage at the correct time, they even include her OTC allergy pill and vitamin. They do this monthly and it only cost about $2.00 for each pack, but it is a life saver in the sense that mom still has control over her meds. My sister and I date each day on each pack and mom will look at the pack, see the date and look up at the special wall clock we bought her that shows the time, day of the week, date and whether it is morning, afternoon or night. For the most part, this has worked out great for us.
my pharmacist says neither of those meds come in patch form?
I know this must be hard for you; it's a heartbreaking disease! I'm glad you found your way to this site. It's been very helpful for me too.
A lot of what you describe is exactly what we have been struggling with concerning my mom too. She is naturally suspicious and fearful, and this disease has increased her tendencies. If I've learned anything though, is that I must enter her world and not expect her to enter mine. The world of "reality" is no longer hers, and to make her feel comfortable and safe is to understand where she is coming from. Caring for our LOs is a true exercise in humility and patience.
You mentioned that it doesn't make sense to you that your mom was confused regarding taking her medication and that the way you approached her made her even more resistant to taking them. I'm sure you had nothing but the best of intentions. It is obvious that you care very much. It's true, her reactions don't make sense to you or to anyone who has the ability to reason it out, but, sadly, your mom does not have the ability to reason as she used to. Her reaction and resistance DOES make sense to her.
There is no simple solution to this, but I have found great power in the "simple" technique of communication. Your mom will react positively to feelings of trust in you and your dad and a sense of personal empowerment; you will have to build and foster these feelings. Try looking at some Teepa Snow videos on communication techniques (teepasnow.com). Also, I found this great article online:
It will be a long, hard journey, Eli, with lots of trial and error. Keep us posted. My thoughts are with you.
If you are in trouble for calling the pharmacy, you have lots of company. When my mom was ill I pretended to be my mom to talk to Medicare. So I'm probably in more trouble (federal) than you (local pharmacy).
After my experience with my mom I have been hyper focused on getting access to all of my husband's medical care. He has a medical power of attorney naming me. Medicare has a form that can be filled out to authorize someone else to call on your behalf. Done. Supplemental insurance has a similar form. Done. Prescription insurance form. Done. Dental insurance form. Done.
Most times when I call they just talk to me when I say I'm his wife. On the odd time when I'm told they can't talk to me, I ask they check the file for the form, and they have always then talked to me.
I'd have 'mom' (aka you) call for the forms to be mailed to her. Have her sign them and mail them in.
But, while that will allow everyone to talk to you, it may not solve your problem completely. I moved something in my mom's drawer one day and unearthed a cache of untaken medication.