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I need advice. My 99 (almost 100) year old mom is frustrated because she feels that she is losing control of everything (and she is!). She pretty much has all of her faculties, although she's slipping now here and there. I know she's frustrated and feels marginalized and I try very hard to give her what she needs and wants -- I plan activities for her to do alone, things we can do together. I've told her she can help me with housework, cooking, etc. (she doesn't want to do that! :-)). I do a little Doordashing on the side and when she feels up to it, we go together. I try to give her autonomy. But she is almost completely blind, almost totally deaf, and unable to ambulate well under her own power. She needs my help. Our latest struggle has been the medications. She wants to self-medicate in some areas and her doctor says no, to talk to him first. This causes huge blow ups because "I want to do what I want to do! I always did in the past! I've lost everything! I can't even handle my own physical needs without getting your approval!" Did I mention mom is also borderline personality? Your advice?

don't know if this perspective will be much help...and of course I say this not knowing what meds she is taking and how important they are or the consequences if she doesn't. I speak as (being transparent) a typically non-compliant unable to swallow pills person. I can get even only the tinest of them down with great effort and stress and usually get limited compassion from others in that regard. But I feel that anyone elder who rejects meds, has that right...wouldn't we all want to make decisions and have control over our own medical choices? She is communicating her wishes in spite of hearing loss and vision loss. You recognize these losses. Just this week I have seen my mother with dementia, who cannot convey what knowing her for a lifetimehas shown, be rather marginalized herself, with no respect or dignity by aides to inflict their own likes on her by using a bar soap with a potent odor and putting her hair in pony tail on top of her head which she would never do. She seems to be quite aware in spite of these losses, so however you communciate I would gain her input on her wishes...would she be willing to cut back/have the dose lowered? would she be willing to see if there was another form of the drug (maybe a patch?) It sounds like you are really a terrific daughter trying to take care of her and make her feel as independent as possible and include her as well. I'm sure you won't regret that. Wishing you both the best (my own mom turns 99 next month:-)
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Reply to gdaughter
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Why give meds to someone who is 99? If she doesnt want to take them, throw them out.I think most people have BPD by the time they are 99.Give her more choices and dont try to control everything.
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Reply to gofin4
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Tekvah: Imho, can some of her medications that are IMPERATIVE for her to take be placed in food products? Perhaps she can 'self manage' a sugar pill. My late mother wanted, to some extent, self manage her cassette medications by removing them and placing them on a teacup saucer covered by a facial tissue. This was really difficult as it almost invalidated the purpose of having cassettes (one color for night and one color for day).
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Reply to Llamalover47
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gdaughter Aug 21, 2021
Between all I have read here and experienced myself or with mom, I am going to be very very clear in my advance directives to leave me the hell alone with these damn meds if I need any and no one is to EVER dare to sneak them in food. And can I add that you cannot fool us or (dogs!) if you stick crap in our food. WE KNOW.
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My mom the same but we finally had to do something different. My brother would fill her box on Sunday night, but when he would check it during the week it would not be correct. He often found her going through the pill box and moving pills around. He took all the meds home except the week he filled out.

when she spent a few weeks with me I noticed the pill box was not correct. She was on the wrong day. Then when I stayed at her house during a crisis I was cleaning out a drawer in her kitchen I found weeks worth of loose pills. So we don’t know what she did or did not take.

the only way we had a resolution was when she had 24 hour care at home and they dispensed the meds. But then she asked every 5 minutes (no kidding) when we were going to give her medications. No amount of explaining made it clear that it was not time and she was very nasty about the whole thing.

a solution we found perfect for developmentally disabled BIL was bubble pack. Not all pharmacies do this.

A solution we considered for BIL was a timed dispenser. They are pricey but that was not the problem . We wanted to find solution where we did not have to fill the box.

I read once medication issues are the number one reason for placement in care facility.

good luck
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Reply to Usedup1959
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gdaughter Aug 21, 2021
I'm sure placement in a facility could tally up to being far more than a costly medication dispenser.
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Maybe you can get your mom to work on a compromise. She will take all her daily medications as prescribed. If she needs a "pain pill" or "cold medicine," she should have some already approved medications she can take (you can give her) but she must notify you when she takes the optional medicine so "you can keep track for the doctor", She will feel she has more control since she has optional medications she can ask for when she wants.

Other options to give her more control:
1 - Let her decide if she will take meds before or after a meal - as much as possible.
2 - Let her decide what she will drink to take her medications.
3 - Put her medications in a small cup so she can take as many as she wishes out of the cup at one time. Some folks can gulp them all down in one go; others need to take each one individually.
4 - If she has problems swallowing, get her liquid or crushable meds. She can choose what to mix with her medications: applesauce, pudding...
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gdaughter Aug 21, 2021
Just to add when I was having a miserable time while in the hospital and no doubt based on what was accessible for them, they used raspberrry sorbet. I still hate it and it was still hard, but somehow I got it down...and tiny as it was at times, it was for me, one at a time. God bless those with the swallowing ability. We can sometimes take the littlest talents so for granted:-)
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Call the Blind Association for help with things for your mom.

Get her hearing aides.

Let her go with you places if she chooses.

By her age every onedeserves to be able to do whatever they want.

Ask her what she would like
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Your mother needs your help but not your control.

Naturally, there are many things she won't be capable of and these supplemental medicines symbolise her authority over this last vestige of choice.

I realise how the lines of responsibility in care can easily become blurred to find yourself running all facets of someone's life, but this issue is between your mother and her doctor.

As the 'man in the middle', you are being shot down from both sides.
By all means express your opinion and reiterate the doctor's advice, but please respect her informed choice.

Research side effects and notify the doctor to check for conflicts or some variation of scripts to compensate - there's always a compromise available.
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Reply to Kantankorus
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Consider yourself fortunate that she takes meds. My mother who has similar issues refused to take all pills. My concern was that she’d have a stroke and end up worse than she is. I hired a caregiver who came for an hour every day and my mother didn’t argue with her. She took necessary meds (including anti psychotic ones) for her.
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Reply to Susanonlyone
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She pretty much has all of her faculties, you said. That tells me she has an opinion about the medicines or health foods she wants to take. She knows which ones she's taken in the past and logically would want to continue taking them. That's not wrong of her so far. I understand some doctor's fears but if I'm going to help you, I'd like to know what the meds and health foods are. If you private message me, I'll be glad to assist. There are many amazing health foods and herbs she probably should be taking. But different doctors don't always know about them and express concern. She might need an alternative care doctor, a nutritionist who understands herbs and supplements. My skills are in psychology and caregiving with over 20 years experience with 80-100 year olds. I restored my own mother's memory and got her off many meds. Considered to be impossible. My mom was supposed to die in 2009 according to our gerontologist. He had a hundred patients he told their families. Every year a hundred died. Mom was in the 2009 group. He told me in 2004 get ready for it. Papers in order, mentally strong for it, etc. In 2009 he called us in to tell me all the group had died but mom. They researched for any difference in all 100 cases on evenings and weekends and holidays. They could find no difference. They looked at our lifestyle then. Being a neighborhood gerontologist, his other clients had seen us all over and he asked if they saw us, describing us. Of course, they had. I'm very recognizable and mom was 87, and we went out to eat every day. Every day. They concluded I was the difference. 500 people died from 2004 to 2009. Another 500 by 2014. Again by 2019.

Your mom is a treasure. Value your time with her. Give her all the time you can. Socialize her. Take her out every day to eat and to movies. Answer all her questions honestly. Positively. With hope. With a winning attitude. You'll never have her back once she's gone and there is nothing more valuable than her. Without her, you wouldn't even be alive. My mom had a ring. $250,000. Where do you think it is? On her finger. That's hers, not my inheritance. Get my meaning.

I'm glad to help. If I had believe every doctor, she'd be dead since 2009 or earlier. Believe in yourself that you can find the answer. Be patient and confident and it will come. Don't listen to people who don't know enough to advise you, too. Lying is often bad due to she will figure it out and then come to not trust you. You can do it better than that fatalistic attitude of lying like there's no other way.

So PM me and we can start to dialogue about your mom. Remember, nobody, not even doctors, care about your mother more than you do. And they don't know everything. That's one reason you get a second opinion, right?
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Reply to RichCapableSon
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Get a “refill” on the meds she wants to take on her own. Fill the bottle with vitamins and tell her there’s a new manufacturer so the pills look different. Make up reasons for needed activities. I hope you can get used to the unfortunate necessity of lies to make her life more peaceful.
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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If she is nearly blind can you substitute what she thinks she's taking with something that's safe (like a vitamin C pill, or sugar pill)? You are not obligated to be her full-time entertainment committee. If she "pretty much has all of her faculties" then she needs to spend some time alone with her thoughts as she ponders the fact that no one gets to live forever. This is not cruel. She's had her entire 99 years to deal with this. You can't make it less of a reality for her.

Pick your battles and use "therapeutic fibs". Allow here to think she's choosing medications for herself (and i'm not sure what this means) but then just substitute them. Maybe consider hiring a companion from an agency to come in and keep her entertained for a few hours a week, take her on a drive, etc. I hired a companion aid for my 2 very elderly aunts and they loved her. She also did light housework and food prep and just chatted with them. You need a break so that you don't burn out. Wishing you wisdom as you walk this path with your mom.
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