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I find pills on floor she has dropped. She refuses to wear a medic alert. I feel she is just an accident waiting to happen, but refuses to admit she needs help.

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You don't say that your Mom has dementia or Alzheimer's...... I have just had to purchase a small safe to keep my mother's medications in. My Mom was hospitalized for 8 days to have gall bladder surgery and then she developed arrhythmia so she had to remain in the hospital. While in the hospital her dementia grew much worse due to medications they were giving her to calm her down, however it was working in reverse and making her worse.

When we came home Mom's medications had changed and they had added Seraquel. I was watching her like a hawk and yet I turned around and she had her bottles of medication out and had Seraquel in her hand ready to pop in her mouth. I was alarmed and immediately removed the medication from her, which she fought me over like crazy! At this point I don't give a d--n my dear, I am not going to sit by and watch my mother overdose on pills, nor go through whatever might happen to me or my sister when someone tries to prosecute us for Elder Neglect!

As kids we do not want to make our parents mad, so we don't stand our ground and tell them that we understand they think they are okay to handle these matters but they are not, therefore for their own safety and our peace of mind, we must now help them, by performing this task for them.

I have put Mom's pills into her daily dispenser for years and never really feared that she would go into other medications and randomly take them.....until a few days ago. When you live with your parent you notice all the changes that are happening with them more readily than when you just stop by to visit. There is a decline in their cognition and you have to be ready and watchful.

Try to explain to your Mom that you love her and you need to due this for her to put your mind at rest.
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Mom refused until the VNA (visiting nurses assn.) gave her the 7 x 4 box. She wouldn't fill it so I did. She continued to fiddle with the Rx bottles, even putting pills back in. I brought this up in front of the nurse, and she agreed that I should hide or lock up the Rx bottles. Mom said the pills didn't look right. I reminded her that generics look different every time you get a refill. She complained to her son. He told her "leave the damn pill bottles alone!" Sometimes she does miss a dose, but I report it to the nurse. OH MY she does not want to be a bad girl for the nurse! So after a few months of push and pull, she uses the pill box, and she has an alarm clock that rings at 8AM and 8PM to remind her. So far it works, but expect a lengthy transition.
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My Mom was having trouble filling her pillbox (she takes a LOT of different medications) and actually asked me to help her with it. I got her the one month box with an alarm. It's great! All of the individual boxes have room for breakfast, noon, evening and bedtime pills. One end is green and the other is red. Both ends have the day of the month on it. When the pills are in the box in the container, it is in the container with the green side up. After all the pills are used in the box, you replace it in the container with the red end up. It's a visual reminder of what day it is, and when the box needs to be refilled. It has worked fantastic for us, although Mom has never used the alarm (she didn't like being told when to take her pills). The really thing is that when we go out, she can take that days pills with her in her purse without having to switch to another container - it fits nicely. It's been a great system for us. It does take awhile for me to fill one months worth of pills, but it also lets me know in advance when her pills need to be refilled, so no more mad rushes when she runs out. Now I write it on the calendar a week in advance, and she's got plenty of time to get them ordered.
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My mum is diabetic and now dementia VERY dangerous. I have now decided to take control of her meds as this is so dangerous. She was taking 40units of insulin instead of 30 she was convinced it was 40 until the doctor told her it was so dangerous. She keeps saying stop treating me like an idiot so I say STOP behaving like one. Im easy on her little cakes and diet BUT never on her meds when Im hoovering i find pills under the coffee table and have just had enough of the stress so I have to control this. I am living with her though so ok for now lucky her meds are one once a day and insulin twice but this is going to get more tricky.
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My mom was not taking her medication well and refused help. I bought the container and suggested this was a good way to track her meds. Eventually she let me fill it in, it took me months of persisting, and she agreed only after a hospital stay that resulted in some changes. I visit and make filling it one of my chores while I am there. I just kept asking, expressing interest, she would admit to forgetfulness, so I used that as an opening. I wore her down, or she realized I was suggesting this for her own good. My mom is forgetful, and can be headstrong, she does not have dementia nor the lack if reasoning associated with it.

She looks forward to my visits, I bring pastries. We chat, I fill her pill box and review her mail, her bills, she actually looks forward to it now. The 7 day box committed me to visiting her a minimum of once a week.....hence she likes it.
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Could you fill pill bottles with tic tacs, smarties, other little candies and let you mom fill her own pill boxes any way she wants to. It won't matter whether she does it right or spills them, nothing to worry about. Then you make up the real portions and keep them where she can't get to them. Never let her see them at any time. You can ask the pharmacist to make sure, but if it's okay crush the tablets or open the capsules and sprinkle the meds on food or put in juice. It got to where my mom couldn't take pills and this is what we do. Also know that with dementia and aging this phase will pass. Sometimes I look back at the times my mom still had some fight in her and feel sad that she doesn't any more. Thanks for being so concerned about your mom. I think the fact that you are watching out for her will help keep her safe and healthy. Like vw9729 said you shouldn't feel guilty if something happens that you can't prevent. xxoo to you both!
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More times than not, a family member will only make the patient more determined not to accept help. Get a neighbor friend to try and explain and show how to set up the pill dispenser.
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And to respond to not wearing the medic alert necklace/bracelet and otherwise the parent refusing to follow safety issues in their own home....I have been through this...while worried about having the POA and living out of town. When Dad was home, we had times that police had to be called to do a welfare check because I could not assess via phone, or they were not answering, or they were fighting and loud and neighbors were concerned. I talked with attorney about what my role was regarding keeping them safe and in their home. I was told that I could not be legally liable if I had arranged home care, the necklace, had a case manager and other ways to get them assessed quickly when I lived out of town. I was told these things were necessary to avoid having someone call APS and then APS taking over control if they were found unsafe. I finally had to explain to both of them, that they had to have the in home caregiver come because the police had been called too many times....(most of the time called by ME...but I didn't have to say that!) and that if APS were called in by the police, they would not be able to stay in their home. They both did NOT ever want to be taken out of the home, so they finally accepted that the caregiver coming was to help assure we had a plan that showed they were safe to be there in their home. Mom, alone now, won't wear the bracelet either, so I am in process of upgrading their home alarm system, so I can see via computer that she is in the house and what she is doing...and so she does not have to manually alarm the house, but it will automatically be activated or deactivated simply by her locking or unlocking the door. If she leaves and forgets to lock the door, I get notified via email/computer and I can lock the door from here....in a different town too. It's quite good! And at least I have done what I can do for now...to keep her safe, and me legally OK. Eventually, like with Dad, it will come to her having to be placed somewhere, or have the caregivers in with her. Sad that their lives have to end this way, but there's no other good answers!
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We went through this with my Dad, when he was at home. He would NOT allow Mom to help him at all. IT got to where it was taking him over an hour to fill his pill container, after we got him one of those mentioned above, where the week's supply could be set up weekly. We had our RN daughter, when she lived in town, drop by weekly to set up his meds and then one of us would communicate by phone with mom about whether he took each dose or not. If not, we would get him on the phone and try to get him to understand he had not taken them yet that morning or that evening. Sometimes that would even be a fight....as he would take them out of the wrong cubby too. We had times we thought he took two doses at once. Mom was not good at even monitoring him, and the two would fight with each other, so ultimately this was the safety issue that got the caregiver hired to come in daily for a few hours. That worked for about 6 months, with me calling every evening about the 10 pm dose. I was usually able to have a social conversation, tell him a couple jokes, talk about how I loved him and cared about him, and lead him to take the pills while I was on the phone with him, and with mom watching in the background. There are also pill caps, for bottles that have an alarm on them, that will go off when it's time to take the pills too...but we tried those with them not being helpful, since neither parent could hear it if not in the same room as the pill bottle. We set the alarm clock on the cell phone to remind him of one pill he had to take at 230 pm and that worked for a good long time, until eventually, with his dementia, he just tuned out the alarm making a noise, and Mom was not willing to always be home at that time to remind him it had gone off. The issue of her communicating with him about his meds....became a real fight between them, because she had a bossy way of treating him like a forgetful child, and he had always been the man in charge and capable. Eventually, her way of communicating drove him to drinking too much alcohol all the time, to block her out....and that issue, combined with his increasing dementia is what caused us to have to place him in a facility. Mom is currently using the week long med box and is able to fill hers by herself and take meds appropriately. She is not on anything serious though, ....thyroid, supplements, Lasix....nothing that will affect her mind yet....so I am comfortable just assessing when I go down to Tucson to visit. But...YES....taking meds properly IS a HUGE SAFETY issue and must be monitored carefully. And communications about meds must be soft and delicate and still allow the parent to feel like they are 'in control' of their own lives and you as the child are just 'helping' them a little bit.
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I cleaned and saved the little containers that you get sauces and dressings in from fast food places or Chinese restaurants. Then I would put masking tape on the lid and write a time I've day with a sharpie, like 7 a.m., 11 a.m., etc. Sometimes as I divided up the daily pills, l might have 4 to 6 containers but only set out one day at a time so it would be harder to overdose. This system worked well as long as they could tell time (digital watch is rather than analog watches can make this easier as time goes on) and yet gave them a feeling of independence about when to take their prescriptions.
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I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. We had the same problem with my mother-in-law. We found out she couldn't remember what pills she had taken and dropping them on the floor when she was taking them. We finally sat her down and explained to her the dangers of her taking too much or too little of her medications and what it could do to her as well her dog if he were to find the medication on the floor. We kindly informed her that we would set her medicine up for her in a pill container on a weekly basis - that this would make "us" feel better in leaving her alone in her home. This also helped me tremendously in knowing what medicine she was taking in case of an emergency and which medicine she needed refilled. While she was still cognizant to know what day it was, this worked for a while. But she eventually progressed to not knowing what day it was and she came to live with us. So we laid her morning medicine out for her before we left for work on the kitchen table. That way it was the first thing for her to see. We put her pills in a shot glass, that way she could take them all at once with less of a risk of dropping. We did the same thing for her evening meds. This way she still felt "somewhat" in control of her situation.

She also had a medic alert necklace. Sometimes she wore it and sometimes she didn't. She eventually fell without wearing it and laid on the floor for about 6 hours until we found her. After that, we informed her she had no choice - that she was to wear it at all times because we didn't want to deal with the guilt again of finding her on the floor. She finally agreed. Sometimes we can reason with them but other times it takes an accident to wake them up. But if she does have an accident - it's not your fault. You're trying to help her and that's all you can do until she finally agrees for the help. Caregiving is hard enough without the guilt - so know you're doing all you can do at this time. Good luck!!
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It sounds like your Mom is showing signs of dementia, but that is not mentioned in your profile. Self-medicating as they decline is a real challenge. The 7 day/4 dose pill tray worked very well for my Mom while she could still watch the clock and comprehend the calendar. The first thing I did was to make a long white cardboard strip with the day of the week in large red letters (SUN MON TUES etc), and taped it across the top of the tray, and bent it back just a bit so she could see it easily and it was not in the way of her fingers. The next adjustment was to label the lids with MORN, LUNCH, SUP, BED. That way, she didn't have to worry about the exact time. I also trained her (yes trained) her to leave the little door open after taking each dose, so she could easily see that the next closed lid was the next dose to take. When she could no longer keep track of the days, I switched to the tray with the pop-out strips. I put a strong rubber band (#64?) around each plastic strip. Beginning with Sunday, she would roll the rubber band into the groove between the strips. Seeing the rubber bands was her mental reminder that she could only use one strip each day. Every morning, she would move the next rubber band over.That way, only one strip at a time was accessible, and she still was leaving each lid open after taking each dose. This worked pretty well for about a year. All along, I still called her during the day to check up on her occasionally and ask if she took whatever dose she was supposed to have taken last. As her dementia progressed, all these measures just fell apart, and she was skipping doses, dropping pills, hiding pills, taking more than she should, mishandling food, not eating. not changing clothes, etc. By that time, she was ready for the NH, and after her last fall, she went into the hospital, Rehab, and Nursing home in straight succession (never came home). Prior to that, my phone call check ups increased, and trips to her apt to assist her became daily, and then at least 2x/day, and sometimes overnight. I basically lived with her on weekends. I was still working full time at that point, so it was rather grueling.

As for the medic alert bracelet, the first time she fell, she finally agreed to try it, but it still took some training and reinforcemnt to instill that she had to leave the bracelet on her wrist 24/7. It was a Godsend many times. Unfortunately the day of her final fall, she did not use it, but managed to get to the phone and call me.
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Yep, not harsh at all. Some things you let go or compromise on, but pills ain't one of them. Mom fought me on this and I won. I was kind but firm and then let her rant and rave till she wore herself out. You just can't let them play with their pills like it's candy. As time goes on, I'm finding I have to hide more and more "products" if I don't want her making an ungodly mess or trying to put them on (face makeup, hair spray, you name it). Probably won't be long till she tries eating or drinking whatever bottle or container she has in her hands. Dear God, I do hate this disease, don't you??
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we have to remember we come in like a baby and GOD willing we go out as one
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i suggest you get a safe and lock up the meds this is dangerous , i had a patient thatdid the same thing someone has to monitor this all the time sit her down and tell her hey we need to do this to protect you or we will have to take other methods of getting you taken care of i know this might sound alittle harsh but i have been caring for the elderly a long time. you need to be in control not an elderly parent whom refuses to be reasonable the safe worked i took the pills said no more taking a chance of an overdose especially with them holding the pills. i disagree with giving them all the pills for 24 hours not a good idea as they get older their body changes everyday
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Hi there, does she live with you? My 80 year old mother moved in with us a year ago. She would forget that she even took her medications and take more. We bought one of the 7 day/4 dose containers..that worked for a few days...but even with a calendar, she forgot what day it was,and she was pulling the pills from any compartment she wanted...so, this is what currently works for us, and has for over 6 months. I let her have her pills on a 24 hr basis. I fill 1 little plastic container with her pills each morning. She seemed to spill them from the bottles, which is why we knew those had to be taken away from her. This is a little plastic container, with an attachable lid, that had actually belonged to one of my daughters (It may have Scooby Doo on it...but it works.) Each morning she gets 4 pain pills, 3 anxiety pills, 1 celebrex, and one blood pressure pill. She knows when those are gone, that there won't be anymore put into that container until the morning. Mine won't wear the medic alert button either. She claims that she has her cell phone...which she won't keep near her. She says that she is fine when we leave to shop. I tell her that if we are gone 2 hours, and she falls right after we leave, that is 2 hours on the floor, if she can't get to her phone. Good luck with the medications...is she able to tell you that she dropped them? My mother goes into a frenzy, knowing exactly what she dropped and will have me crawling around looking for it because, "If the cat gets it, she will die". Everyday is something new.
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