pezara13 Asked June 2011

If an elderly loved one refuses to take their medicine, is it elder abuse to force them to take it?

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I want to know is it abusive to make my mother take her medication even though she doesn't want too?

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Truffles Jun 2014
I think the elderly are prescribed far too many drugs. Doctors frequently treat the side effects of one drug with yet another drug causing even more side effects. Taking a cocktail of drugs each day makes many elderly people lose their appetites and they become weak and frail. Some doctors have become like drug pushers and many drugs especially psychotropics can do great harm to the elderly. I would never force anyone to take a drug against their will
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Veronica91 Sep 2013
I think all the issues have been pretty much addressed. the only thing that concerns me is the crushing of drugs and the emptying out of capsules .Here is a website that lists medications that should not be crushed and the reasons.
http://careingweb.utoledo.edu/drugs.html if that does not work just type in "oral dosage forms that should not be crushed"
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jeannegibbs Jul 2011
Flava272, hearing things can be a symptom of dementia. It also is a feature of other conditions.

Is your mother skipping a meal now and then, or has she suddenly stopped eating altogether, for a few days in a row? Is she having any new health issues, like a cold or the flu or a UTI? Does she seem depressed? Is she still drinking enough liquids (maybe with your encouragement?) I guess I wouldn't freak out over a missed meal now and then. If it is more than that, I think it is worthwhile to try to figure out what is going on.
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jeannegibbs Jul 2011
AlzCaregiver, I think that many elderly people are overmedicated. Partly doctors sometimes forget to ask whether a drug is still effective or needed. This is compounded if the drugs were originally prescribed by different doctors. And often the patients don't think to report the OTC drugs and supplements they are taking. So, yes, I agree that a drug "vacation" may be a very useful tool, under a doctor's supervision. (As you say, some drugs should not be stopped cold turkey.)

When my husband developed sudden-onset dementia with severe initial symptoms, his geriatrican took him off all drugs except the ones specially prescribed for his dementia symptoms. Over the course of several months his dementia symptoms improved greatly. Now instead of apparently being in an advanced stage he was in ealy stage dementia, and had a quality of life worth preserving. She gradually added back in the other medicines that could contribute to his quality of life. I think he takes about 30 pills a day (some RX, some OTC, all overseen by his doctor). About quarterly we discuss with her whether all drugs are still appropriate.

By all means, drugs should be evaluated regularly, especially as health changes and as we age. Often this will result in a reduction in the number of drugs. But not always. I would not want to give up any pill my husband takes right now. Pills are not bad. Pills continued beyond their usefulness or in spite of evidence they are not helping or are making matters worse are bad.
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jeannegibbs Jul 2011
pezara13, I think how hard you should try depends on your mother's age, her physical/ mental condition, and her reasons for not taking drugs. If she is fully competent to make her own decisions and has (to her) strong beliefs about the situation, then, yes, I think it is a form of abuse to trick her into taking something she chooses not to take. If her own ability to judge what is good for her is impaired and her "reasons" are clearly confused, then maybe a little trickery is in her best interests. I don't think there is a one-size fits all answer here. You know the situation. Make a decision in love, to fit the circumstances.

Best wishes to you!
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Flava272 Jul 2011
I also want to know if hearing voices a part of dementia.
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Flava272 Jul 2011
My mom has been living with me since 01-14 of this year and i'm so use to her eating 3 times a day seven days a week and one day she told me she wasn't hungry and i freaked when do i need to worry about her not eating. Don't get me wrong i could use a day out of the kitchen in fact several i'm tired but determine that my mom is not going to a nursing home. At least, not on my watch.
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Stephan Jun 2011
A lot rides on what you mean by "make her" take her pills. Are you talking about physical coercion? What are the health consequences if she does not take the medication? If she is lucid, she should probably have a say in what she takes.

Recently I realized that my mother had trouble swallowing and was daunted by the little morning and evening cup with so many pills in it. I worked with her doctor to decrease her medications, staggered the vitamins and supplements so that she only has a few pills with every meal, and gave her "days off" which seemed to give her a sense of relief and control. So she no longer gets vitamin "D" or CoQ10 as regularly, but I think some is better than none at all.
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Really, see if a few can be eliminated all together. When it gets to the point that medicine taking itself is a battle,....well then, let's RX a drug to help combat the combativeness. Pills tend to pile up, with doctors prescribing another drug to help control some side effect of this tangled mess. I am wondering if the whole nation went on a drug vacation for three weeks....what would happen. Dementia situation improves dramatically, people more awake and alert. Such a simple solution and it costs nothing (less than nothing). Then reassess what really to take and what can be let go. Notice side effects as drugs are restarted. I have had great results with Mom doing this. She is now on NOTHING at all, cept tylenol. and I wish that came in a patch. Pills...ugh.
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ADaughter Jun 2011
My dad didn't want to take his medications because of their cost. We found ways to reduce some of the medication, get generic for others, change his prescription drug plan, etc. to help ease his worry.
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