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Here is how it happened with my aunt.
In the very beginning it was the thyroid tablet which had to be taken on an empty stomach and a requirement to wait 30 min before eating. Aunt insisted she was taking it. Had been for many years etc. When we counted the pills and compared it to the days left for the prescription to be refilled, she had to admit the math didn’t support her absolute conviction that she had been taking it correctly.
After our discussion, she understood the math. She understood she evidently wasn’t taking it.

However she wasn’t able to hold that understanding she had the one day over to the next morning when it was time to take the next pill.

I tried phone calls, notes, placing the med box in different places, finally I got it.

It wasn’t HER that had to do something different, it was ME. I had to accept that she wasn’t being difficult or stubborn. She simply couldn’t remember and I was being obtuse.

So if I wanted her to continue to take the thyroid tablet, I had to find someone to offer it to her every morning.

As her disease progresses so do her needs. We as caretakers have to increase the level of care as the needs increase.

Sometimes the current stage has been slow to advance and lulls us into denial for awhile.
Then we come to realize that a new care plan is necessary.
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Clothes Jan 27, 2020
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I want to say I have a fabulous answer. Alas I do not. My Mama would argue with me all the time saying she took her pills already. Same with her shower. Of course I had already fixed her up with a pill box some time before this even became a problem. The trouble was she took the wrong days pills or none at all. No matter what I said I could not convince her. Had to let those days go. It still amazes me that she is now in Memory Care and somebody comes by and says" Here's your pill Miss" and she swallows that sucker without batting an eye! Tried the pill dispenser too that dings and the pills come out. Didn't do any good as she swore she already had taken them. Plus like others say, there are always a few to be found on the floor. You are not alone with this problem. Good luck!
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Clothes Jan 27, 2020
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My mom also gives me the "I already took my pills" line when I bring her the meds. Here are some of the things that work for me.

I know my mother's memory is shot, so when she says: "I already took my pills," I don't argue, I just say OK, then I leave the pills on the dresser with a glass of water. A few minutes later, on her own, she sees the pills there and just takes them. Of course, this approach doesn't work all the time.

So, other times, I tell her: "Yeah, I know you took your pills, but those were the pills for morning, these are for noon."

Other times, I tell her: "Those pills you took earlier were for xyz, these are for abc."

Sometimes, I just come back 15 -30 minutes later and try again when she's in better mood and more cooperative.

Sometimes, she will just skips her meds because none of the above works.
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Clothes Jan 27, 2020
Thank you for letting me know what you do....
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Someone (you, caregiver, workers designated at facility she's at who dispense meds) has to give her medication to her every time.  Plus, she has to take the meds while you or they wait.  Most can't remember even with pill boxes, pill packets, alarms, reminders.  If she fusses that she already took it, try saying 'the dr said for you to take this now.'
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Clothes Jan 27, 2020
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I understand where you are coming from. I have caught my mother collecting her doses in a jar. She has also hidden them in her cheeks like a little chipmunk only to spit them out later.

What to do? I manage them from start to finish. I take care of refills, sorting, and dispensing.

I remind her daily that her medications help keep her blood pressure under control. In the past, I would give her an honest assessment of her blood pressure readings. I made comments such as “looks great”, or “your blood pressure looks better than mine”, etc. I realized this only gave her a false sense of security.

Now, I tell her “your blood pressure is a little too high (or low) I’ll go get your meds”. She is much more willing to take them if she thinks there is an immediate need.

Also, much like what is done in a hospital setting, I give her a cup of water with her pills. Then, rather than hover over her (because I think it irritates her)—I do “busy work” close by until I see she has swallowed her meds.  

Just another example of the little “white lies” we tell our aging parents to keep them around because we love them.
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Are you present at the facility when she takes it?  If so, can you make a little party out of it?    Play her favorite music, perhaps bring her a flower (artificial or real), something that appeals more to basic memory than the memory of someone with dementia, i.e., something comforting...sort of a medicine ritual.

And keep a lovely calendar for her so that it can be marked off; she may not remember it, but if one of the aides or someone helps her look at the calendar and see it's marked off, she may accept that.

Is she taking her meds alone though?   Isn't there someone to administer them and note the time?
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Quite honestly you cannot. When dementia comes it is almost impossible to handle this medication thing which can be difficult even for people without mental deficits.
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Is your mother bedridden? (you mentioned nightstand). My sister lives with me. She's ambulatory. I have a typed sheet that is laminated that lists in a table the time that she's supposed to take medications each day, the number of pills due at each time, and a box to write what time she took them. (We use a dry-erase marker so it can be wiped clean and reused each day.) I have an old cell phone set up to alarm each time she's supposed to take pills. The list and pills are always in the same place on the kitchen counter.

When the alarm goes off, she (usually) comes to take pills. Each time period is separated in a little Tupperware container (lids are easy to remove as opposed to little daily pill containers that can be tough to open.) Each container is labeled with the time of day scheduled. Sometimes I have to assist with certain portions of this, but she generally is able to manage on her own. But as for your mother, if the pills are still in the container, then obviously she didn't take them because they're still there. Who can argue with that?

If you can get her more involved, rather than just handing her pills, maybe that will help. Have her write at least her first initial indicating that she took that dose so something is in her own handwriting that she will believe.

I had the same problem with showers. She would say she just took one yesterday. So again, I decided to get her involved in keeping track. We agreed on showers every Sunday and Thursday. I got a little monthly calendar book and after her shower, she initials the calendar that she had a shower. It's working perfectly so far.

Good luck! Everything is a challenge.
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Reply to SisterSue1949
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No matter what works "today" may not work tomorrow.
Dementia is a inconsistent "constant" What they can do today might not be what they can do tomorrow that includes anything from reading a note reminding them of a medication, an alarm reminding them to take a medication or to get out of the house in case of a fire. If medication is important the only way to be sure it is taken is to observe that it is taken, handing it to the person and trying to get them to take it, or mixing it with food.
Given the course of dementia medications might be one of the things that is looked at to determine if some of them are really that important. Dementia medications do not work forever. In later stages is a Statin really important? Is that thyroid medication really important given the broad scope of things?
And given the course of dementia sooner than you realize you can not leave this person alone. They can not follow directions or remember the directions given (one of the reasons rehab often fails for people with dementia)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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If you have several meds with several times a day to take it, it can get complicated. start with doctor and find out if all of them are necessary (multiple drs can add things that other drs don't know about). Then ask if the necessary meds can be taken 1 time a day at the same time. Some Rx drugs that you take 3 times a day actually come in a single longer acting medicine.

They have companies that will package your doses of medicine. I think Simply or Simple Medicine is one of them. They are sealed in individual package with time and day to take the contents. That might help.
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