Why give "maintenance meds" (blood pressure, cholesterol, vitamin D, potassium, etc) to a person with late stage severe dementia? - AgingCare.com

Why give "maintenance meds" (blood pressure, cholesterol, vitamin D, potassium, etc) to a person with late stage severe dementia?

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This patient spends every waking moment sobbing, shaking, begging to die, does not recognize any family or friends, doesn't know where she sleeps or eats, is highly agitated when not heavily medicated, basically not one ounce or "quality of life" or "dignity" remaining. Why?

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Responding to girlhart's concern of hospice only paying for 6 months, that is not correct, at least in some cases. In order to be accepted to hospice, a doctor has to state that the patient is expected to live only 6 months or less, but if the patient gets on hospice and the decline continues but more slowly than expected, a recertification can be made. My mother (dementia) lives with me and has been on hospice 17 months so far. Yes, Suzmarie, hospice is great. They did provide us a hoyer lift which we used earlier but now not often. As far as maintenance meds, hospice recommended keeping Mother on aspirin to help prevent more strokes, but a few months ago, I asked about taking her off that and they agreed it's fine to discontinue it. We have her on osygen, vitamins, a stool softener & laxative (her muscle tone is very poor and has trouble with bm's), a cough medicine, and Ambien. All for comfort only.
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She doesn't have to get any med that you don't want her to get. As her child, you are her advocate. You speak for her. What would she want, if she could see herself like this? If you have a dr. who insists that it's wrong to stop these maintenance meds, find another dr. A gerontologist would be best. Hopefully, you have a DNR order on file at her facility. I did this for both of my parents who were demented. The agitation and fear are also treatable symptoms that are more important to treat at this time than blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. Medicare only pays for hospice for 6 months, I believe. That is why most drs won't get hospice involved if they think it's too early. However, Palliative Care would certainly be beneficial in this situation. There is a great pall. care website that you might be able to google. I would not feel guilty about not giving your mom meds that will prolong her life, if she is miserable. Just keep her as comfortable and calm as possible. I feel bad for you. I went thru some of this recently with my dad, who mercifully died about 6 wks ago at 93, although I miss him terribly. He had lung cancer, which we did not treat, so we were able to have hospice come to their Memory Care Unit for him, and they were wonderful. But he no longer suffers. Now my mom's dementia has gotten worse, but she is not as bad as he was, so am keeping her on her meds. I'm not ready to lose them both so close together. But she is not agitated, crying or afraid. She likes where she is living, likes the staff, says how nice everyone is. She doesn't seem miserable to me. There may come a time when I stop her meds. Good luck!
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Wow. A lot of great insight here. I am the united airlines retiree. I am looking to get mom home with me. She qualified for Medi Cal so they would pay a caregiver I believe, an 8 hour day at 11.50 an hour. I don't know how they work back ups if main CG is sick or needs a vacation:

I know I would need a break I just know it because I had her here for 2 years and I was burning out.....She only gets to keep 35 dollars a month for herself; the rest of her SS goes to the NH. I'd get my UAL retirement and could receive the 11.50 an hours as mom's caretaker but there is no way we could afford respite.

For the person wanting to take mom outside in the fresh air; medicaid medi cal or medicare and hospice all or some of these, will lend you a hoyer lift; an absolute miracle. My friend was able to move her father into bed and out of bed and into wheel chair with this and he could sit at the family table or be taken outside. I know hospice will provide one for sure! it is a must have!

Mom gets a sleeping med about 8:30 p.m. each night sometimes it works and sometimes she gets up a few times.. whenever I am next to her on the bed watching lawyer shows in the afternoon she sleeps without difficulty; when she spends the night she sleeps all the way through...is it being with me or coincidence
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Because we live in a medically dominated culture that finds death to be some failure on the part of the doctor determined to "save the life". Add a society of litigants and you can understand their fear. Then factor in our general unwillingness to accept death as normal and inevitable for all of us and our beloved parents suffer as we are tortured watching them diminish incrementally and miserably until they ultimately do die anyway! I find this incredibly thoughtless and cruel and then think of the screams of people who thought "death panels" as a terrible thing, rather than the possibility of help to end life with compassion, dignity and understanding.
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Antidepressants may help your mum's mood.
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How sad. This disease is an ugly one. It is cruel not only to the person in it but, to those caring for them. My Mom is in teh moderate stages of Dimentia. On Mothers day she went onto cardiac arrest. My older brother was able to revive her. She spent a few days in the hospital. She had no potassium in her system. Which causes death. Before this occured her companion had packed up his belongings and walked out. He could no longer take the meaness. I have her at my house. we are getting her the medical care she needs. She will not sell her house and move here. She lives 3 hours away. Until we can get her to make the decision to sell and move here, we just go back and fourth between places.

I look back now and wonder if it would have been better for her to have died on the day she went into cardiac arrest. I feel guilty for feeling that at times. I want my Mom to leave this world with her dignity. For her life is changing quickly. I love her so much yet, I know she has already deid . This is not my Mother.

We put our pets down when there is no hope and we do not want them to suffer, yet humans must stay alive and loose all quality of life, dignity etc. I have already told my partner that if I get this disease, I will end it when I feel , I can no longer control my words, actions etc. I wish we as humans had more compassion and mercy than we do for our pets.
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Hi SuzMarie. Yes I'm blessed in so many ways and don't realize it sometimes. There has to be a way for your mom to get better care. Check with the Department of Aging (DADS) in your area if your moms income and assets qualify you could actually get paid for keeping her at home. Of course it's not a high salary - whatever the home health aides in your area get paid - probably about 9.00 an hour (up to 40 hrs a week). Like I said not a lot but it is something if your mom qualifies. I tried it but my mom had too much insurance, SSI and assets (her home and auto). You may be able to get volunteers like from your church or friends and other family members to come in and give you a break from time to time.

I'm hoping my sister who lives 15 minutes away will help out some this summer while school is out. The Hospice that provides moms care has volunteers and I do have a couple of good friends that come and sit with mom occasionally. I hate to ask, but they are so willing and I know I need time away. I do run out to the store or pay bills and I go to church on Sundays, but I don't like to leave her by herself for very long. As the end draws closer I know it will become more stressful and mom will require more attention.

My mom is bed-ridden she has a new scooter that she has only been in once but I can't get her up by myself. I would love to be able to get her out of bed and take her outside for some fresh air at least. It's so hard to watch her slowly fade away, but I'm so glad I'm here and she's not in some nursing home. I cherish the time we have together and just try and make her as comfortable as possible.
I no longer worry about her diet whatever she wants she gets - used to limit her intake of coke, but the doctor said no need to worry give her what she wants.

There are resources out there, but you may have to do some research go online and see what you can find. Try calling VISTA,s Innovative Hospice Care listed on this site 877-658-2908. I wish you strength, courage, patience and persistence. God Bless
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You are so very lucky to have a military retirement. I retired for united airlines early but I could not live on it. I am glad you can, and also take care of your mother. I can dream and I will and i will still look for a way to bring mom back home with me.
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Dear OhioDaughter. I'm feel so bad for you and your mother. I would go along with what most everyone else is saying. That is push for Hospice. There are some actual Hospice facilities if having her at home is not an option.

I moved cross-country in Nov 2011 to take care of my mother who has dementia/alsheimers. It was not easy but since I was a window I was too far from family and it felt like the right and logical thing to do. In May I had to take mom to the hospital because her blood pressure was really low and she was very weak. That is when we got the diagnosis of Cancer. Not just cancer but pancreatic, liver and gallbladder cancer in advance stage. My mom is 85 and the docs said with her age and condition there is no treatment. So she is at home now under Hospice care. However the majority of the care still falls on me, but the Hospice team has been great. I know as the disease progresses that the Hospice team will come more frequently and stay longer.

The Hospice doctor said I can stop giving mom all the supplements she was taking (Vitamins B,C,D calcium, multi-vitamins). So now I only give her the prescription meds - especially the dementia meds and blood pressure. I want her to keep her dignity and faculties as much as possible. I think it would be too hard for me to care for her if she didn't know who I was. It's not easy by any means, I have no social life right now other than 1 1/2 hrs that I go to church on Sundays. However, my mom is important to me as she sacrificed many years for me so now it's time for me to give back. I know everyone is not in a position to put their life on hold and take care of their parents. Trust me if I didn't have my military retirement then I probably wouldn't be able to do this either. With my retirement and stipend from my GI Bill (I'm a full-time student)(online) I can maintain my bills and responsibilities and still take care of my mom and earn my degree. So it's a win-win situation in my case.

I hope you can figure out a better solution for your mothers situation so she can live the rest of her days out in dignity, comfort and most of all peace. God bless you both.
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I was told last evening bny a very caring nurse's aide that in her 16 years of caring for dementia and alz. patients she has neve seen one suffering like my mom where it wasn't a matter of tweaking the right medications..however she also said that for any medication it takes at least 30 days to even assess whether the medication is helping or not. She's right...30 days with this one..nope...not helping mom, 30 days with the next...nope, causing hallucinations, thirty days with a new one, nope...causing falls...and ON and ON and ON. We are going on our 14th "30-day" trial period and some people have to do this for 6-10 years! My mom's a suffering guinea pig running around in the wheel at 100 miles an hour getting nowhere.
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