What's the best way to get a parent with Alzheimer's to reduce or eliminate the OTC medications they take?


Her doctor has said she takes far too many "medications". She has only 3 regular scripts - blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and dementia. She takes as many as 40 other pills and spends much of each meal shoving pills in her mouth along with food. She takes perhaps a dozen vitamins, lots of minerals and a few supplements as well as a probiotic. Not only do these additional "medications" cost a lot of money, everything I've read (and the doctor concurs) say that the possible interactions and adverse side effects far outweigh any possible benefits. At her next appointment, the doctor says he's going to go through her entire bag of "medications" and severely simplify what she takes. However, she will blow a fuse when this happens (she's convinced that all these things help her and believes the lady at GNC and elsewhere knows more about vitamins and supplements than doctors do). We will have to go through her cabinets and remove all the extra "medications" (on doctor's instructions) but there's nothing to stop her from ordering more on-line or simply loading her shopping cart when she goes to Wal-mart or GNC. How do we best deal with this challenge??

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing


Oh, I see. I was thinking she was already in AL. It's great you have a resource on the financial matter. Certainly, there has to be a way to get her somewhere she can be taken care of. Eventually, a doctor can say she is not able to live alone and needs assistance. Will that help?

Your MIL sounds a lot like my cousin. She was difficult to a point, but with the doctor's help, we were able to convince her to go into AL by telling her that she needed physical therapy to help with her mobility, her balance and her strength. And that she would get her medication regulated and good nutrition. She finally agreed to go as long as I kept her cat. She has no memory of any of that now.
Helpful Answer (0)

Thanks Sunnygirl1 - good advice. We are working hard right now to find a facility she can afford. We live in the country and home care is difficult if not impossible to come by. Combine that with the fact that she never was a good housekeeper and with AD, she is a terrible (even dangerous) housekeeper. Even getting help cleaning is hard here. Complicating things further is the fact that she makes about 2/3 of what she needs to live in a good AL community. Making up the difference with her savings would exhaust those savings in 3-4 years. Would the rate of decline in her condition mean that she would need a nursing home (and with things like a Miller Trust potentially qualify for Medicaid). It's a real guessing game and we are doing our research, working with someone who is providing us options and will work with her doctors to have them help with urging her into AL. Taking away her car (even after a potentially serious accident) was tough. Getting her into AL is going to be really tough. She "seems" normal to the outside world (until they spend a little time with her). Professionals spot it right away, but people in church and the stores would simply figure she's just a little "different". We haven't gone through this before so we are learning as we go and this forum looks very helpful. I hope so.
Helpful Answer (0)

Due to her level of dementia, I think I would have her assessed to see if she is able to continue living in her current situation. Dementia patients often become unable to manage things like medication administration. It's dangerous. Not only could she take meds that jeopardize her health, but she could misdose her prescription meds. Setting up ways to have dementia patients take their meds correctly is very risky and not very successful from what I have seen. They ignore notes and forget to look at reminders. They are also prone to ignore medication instructions.

Since her safety is definitely in jeopardy, I would proceed with taking away her ability to order meds on line and go out and purchase them. Do you have POA? She may not be responsible enough to handle credit cards.

I might get rid of the existing medications that are not prescribed. Still, that doesn't remedy her mistaking her regular meds. I would explore where she could move to that will administer her prescription meds or if a private company can come to her and provide that service. Maybe others here have experience with that. It involves them coming to her an giving her her meds on a daily basis. Does the AL she in offer that service?

In NC, every AL facility that I know of has that service.

Talking, begging, explaining rarely do any good with dementia patients. They simply can't reason anymore. Their brains don't allow them to use good judgment, so she can't be relied upon to change her ways.
Helpful Answer (1)

This may sound flaky but on an episode of "Dr. G. Medical Examiner" she had a case about a woman who was taking up to 40 supplements a day. At first the woman began losing her hair, then her personality changed. She began to complain about heart palpitations and not being able to sleep and eventually she passed away. Dr. G. determined that it was because of all of the supplements she was taking. You can probably look this up on YouTube.

I don't know how you can keep your mom from ordering more supplements or buying them when she's out shopping but maybe you can convince her that taking that many over the counter medications is very, very dangerous.
Helpful Answer (0)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.