Follow
Share

My mom has frontal lobal dementia. I fill her pill box once a week. She only takes a thyroid pill and an acid reducer. She also uses two inhalers in the morning and one in the evening. She has a rescue inhaler that she uses too often, because she insists that she has used her maintenance medication, although she clearly has not. I can tell by the numbered puffs on the inhaler.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Hi this is my first post and I'm so thankful to meet others having issues distributing meds on a regular basis I hope we can put our heads together even though we face a variety of different issues. It is now 5:42 am I am so concerned about my 74 year old mom who is now living in an independent senior living community. I'll spare details except medication issues which I am desperately seeking help for. Mom takes 2 aricept a day And in evening one Prozac. My brother filled the medicine cases Friday night and a alacar even worker checks in daily to remind her to take her meds. Saturday I noticed 7 Prozac were missing and we suspect she took them all in 2 days. We now lock up her medicine and I have been researching medicine dispensers that only dispense dosages once up to 4 times a day if set according to dr's prescriptions. This way if we can't be there she will be protected from overdosing as the pill dispenser is locked except when the timer is set to distribute the daily dose. I have been researching prices that range from $159 to over $700 through an Alzheimer's association. If anyone has experience with such a dispenser and can recommend one or other advice I will be forever grateful. My mom is my life I feel I'm failing as I can't be there every day. I'll be up a little longer researching if I find anything promising I'll pass it along. Thank you for letting me join this forum:)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

When I managed Mom's back injury pain in 2012, I manually wrote down all schedules for medications, checking off either yes or no if taken early, late, or missed, which rarely happened under my care. When Mom had to go to the hospital or visit her doctor, I had accurate counts for all administered medications.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

MediSafe is a good idea to keep track of medications use when the caregiver must be away, such as at work. Unfortunately, I could not afford to pay for similar service because I was unemployed. So I relied on Kaiser and family to manage Mom's pain. Three years ago, I took care of my 92-year-old mom at home. After her back injury from a fall, I administered all scheduled medications, including those for pain because she could not remember when or how much to take. Every 15 to 30 minutes, Mom said she needed medication for her back pain, but her doctor advised taking medications only every 3 to 4 hours. I tried to explain to Mom. I used Vic's ointment to rub her back in between medications and it helped somewhat to ease the pain.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I started using mymedschedule website to print a schedule and have my mom initial it. When she insists that she already took her medication, although it's still in the box, I can show her that she did not, it's still in the box, the inhaler is still on the counter, and she did not initial the paper. I remind my mom morning and evening to take her medication. I have the pills in the box, and the inhalers are on the counter. After she uses her inhaler, we put it back into the box the inhaler came in. Even though I am with her and giving her the medication, she still insists that she has taken it and won't take it again. The schedule that she is initials is helpbing, because I can point to it and show her that she did not initial the schedule, the pills are still in the box, and the inhaler is on the counter. Although she disagrees with me, I can get her to take it. I am going to look at the medisafe site now. Thanks for all of the input everyone.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I experienced the same with my MIL. She took several pills and had three eye drops a day as well. I started out with the weekly meds box and quickly moved to the daily meds box because there were always pills left. Dementia is an insidious thing.....they truly think they are taking their meds even when you show them they are not....even with the daily meds box, a huge sign on the fridge with times of day for the meds AND setting an alarm for those times she still didn't take them properly. She was in an apartment on our property some 100 yards away and I ended up going up there four times a day every day to check on her and to see that she was taking her meds. Home health got involved for the physical things mostly showering....and it was at their recommendation that she go into assisted living. It was the absolute best thing for us all. Where she would argue with me over the least little thing, there she was the " sweetest little thing" and cooperated with anything they asked. Go figure. But because there were several people taking care of her instead of just the one (me) she felt pampered and doted on and was very happy. So was I LOL.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thanks for all of the suggestions.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Sunnygirl is correct about the med administration. Leaving it up to the dementia patient is not going to work. If this is a new situation for you, I totally get how you are still on 'auto-response' and feel that your mom is still able to do this. It takes a bit of time to adjust to not obeying your mother.:)

When your mom appears to be argumentative or accusatory about the meds, she's not. She's confused and really thinks you're mistaken. But you can't physically force her to take her meds. That's why I suggested that you call her doctor. They need to know what's going on for 2 reasons. 1) Her missed doses can be corrected 2) You don't get blamed for not seeing to it that she's taking her meds.

You will need to take control of the inhaler and monitor its use more closely.
Oh you'll have a discussion about it.... ;) no doubt. But if she's over-medicating; it needs to be stopped.

I made notes on my mom's medication chart for times she refused to take pills. That way - if a 911 call was necessary; I could give them accurate information.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

When the dementia has effected the memory to the point that the medications are being missed or mistaken, it's not likely that some strategy that relies on the patient's skill, action or involvement will work. The actions and reason that seem so obvious and simple to us, no longer exist with them. I wish you the best, but I would take over the medication administration or arrange for someone else to do it. She may not like it, but it's beyond that when she needs them to be able to breathe.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Oh, she uses her rescue inhaler way too often because she isn't using the maintenance inhalers correctly.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks for all the replies everyone. My mom only has two pills a day, plus two inhalers in the morning, one in the evening, and her rescue inhaler.

I have her pills in the box, but she is accusatory, as if I am trying to trick her. I can tell she has missed her inhalers, because they have a number on them for each time they are used. I just found the site where I could print out her medication. It's kind of acheck list. I am having mom initial when she takes her meds, so if she questions it, it is marked with her writing. I just started this yesterday after making my post. She already wanted me to initial it for her. I said no, it wouldn't help for me to initial it. She will feel better if she see's it in her handwriting that she took it. I am crossing my fingers.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Forgetting to take meds, or thinking they already have, is so common with dementia patients. The comments are common too. As we age, the words 'cure' vs 'maintain' become blurred. If the pills don't 'cure' the condition - then they obviously aren't doing any good LOL.

My mom (dementia) would refuse to take her pills, saying 'I already took them' when she (as stated above) had obviously not taken them as they were still in the box/dish. I spoke to her doctor about this and was told that if it only happened once in a while - there was no real threat. She was on Coumadin (blood thinner) and a few others for BP, A-Fib, etc. Coumadin is averaged out over a few days, so if a dose is 'missed'; adjust the doses over the next couple of days to make up for it.

Different meds have different operating principles. If your patient skips more than 1 day - call the physician to ask about the appropriate way to make up missed doses.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

MediSafe is a free app that I use on my Android. It helps with medicines, dosage, and time. It does the thinking for me! Check it out!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

(Chuckle) A few minutes after I wrote about it this afternoon, I told her to remember her pills. She said, "Why? They do any good." She probably wondered why I started laughing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Jessiebelle, that's what I mean by argue. Just always got a comment to make.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I have suggested to my mom that she start using PillPack service, which sends your Rx in dosage packets on a roll with date and time dosage is to be taken printed on each packet. Right now she has them in the pharmacy plastic bottles and dispenses them herself, which I witnessed was pretty hit-or-miss. She has 3 pills that look almost identical, so gets very confused about what she has/hasn't taken. On her last doctor visit her doctor had specifically told my sister she needed to take responsibility and handle the dispensing, but my mom seems to think she can handle it herself. Pillpack sends the Rx's in pre-packaged dosage packets sorted by date/time the dosage is to be taken. I think it would be a great service for her, but getting her to change anything is like moving a mountain. Then there is the problem of her taking some of her pills, setting the rest aside to take "later" and then she forgets about them. She really needs someone to watch over her now at 86, but I live out of town so can't be there except for visits. I wish I could be more involved in her care, but my sister likes having all the control. So even suggesting Pillpack to her would start a big power struggle...sigh. I am not wanting any "power" I just want what's best for my mom, but my sister sees everything as a competition, so any challenge to her control gets her on the defensive.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Mom will ask "have you given me my 8 pm meds"...um Mom you take your meds on odd hours...not even....7 am, 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm and then bedtime. She will ask us every night "Did I take my meds"? Yes Mom you did. We write it down when she takes them. They are in pill minders and I fill them up once a week.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mother would tell me she'd taken her pills (blood thinner) in the evening until she missed 3 days in a row and wound up in the ER with a clot in her lower leg. At that point, I started getting people to come in 2X a day to giver her meds. She'd insisted before that she didn't need help. She DID.

So don't wait until there's an emergency -- get something set up where someone without dementia is making sure she's taking her meds on a daily basis.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I know what you mean, txcamper. Mine doesn't argue, but says, "I don't know why I take these. They don't do any good" almost every time she takes the pills. It's all part of the ritual.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Every single day. Two times a day.

I have totally taken over the administration of her pills. I take them out of the pill minder and put them in a small bowl. She takes them, but has to argue first.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

There comes a point with dementia patients where somebody else has to hold onto and administer the meds every single time, every single day.

My mom had 19 meds she was on when I took over her care. They were so mixed up Lord only knows what she actually had in her. In her apartment, we added the med nurse service to setup pillbox once a week.

I visited her once to find pills all over the floor. She got mad at the pillbox and threw it at the wall. If anybody ever moves that fridge, they're going to find some $50 pills.

Then we added on the lockbox service with twice daily administration. The nurse would put her pills in a paper cup, set on a big yellow target. Mom still had to independently take them and swallow them. She got to where she wouldn't do it while the nurse was there, and then was not doing it at all.

That was one factor that disqualified her from independent living. She needed more help than you get in that unit. Other things happened, and mom ended up in the 24/7 skilled nursing care unit where she had to take her meds. It was much better for her when she had the right meds at the same time everyday - like it or not.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

I have to hover over my mother to make sure she takes her medication. It is one of the main reasons that I am needed here. She has some form of dementia and can't remember to take her pills. A pill box doesn't work with her. I have to put one dose at a time out for her, then remind her to take them... then remind her to take them again.

I think of how nice it would be if she didn't have these health problems -- hypertension and diabetes -- that can't be ignored. This is one of the reasons my mother can't live by herself.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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