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Her pre-dementia went full blown. She is wheelchair ridden, has forgotten practically everything and everyone. I have to feed her and make her drink. She has to take meds to poop. She is on at least 20 medications to treat high blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, sleep aids, memory stimulants, gerd, allergies.....now she coughs constantly. Has no acid reflux, no wheezing, no congestion, just a cough every time she goes from sitting upright to slightly back and reverse. The cough becomes pretty loud and literally destroys the nervous system of other in house and interrupts sleep of everyone. Nothing stops it, and she does not even realize she is doing it. Doctors have no answer for cause or treatment. She did not want medication to be administered to sustain her life when she was at an incurable stage....are blood pressure pills and cholestrol pills, and stool stimulants, and depression aides and sleep aides and nutritional supplements, etc. considered medication that is keeping her alive? She has no joy left in her life. She does not even know what is going on. Her entire family has abandoned her and has gone for over 3 years w/out speaking to her, seeing her, contacting her, etc. She fell off the face of the earth to them. All of her siblings are dead. What's the point in the daily constant caretaking to keep her alive for no happiness ...just waiting for her heart to stop or her to fall again. She requires 24/7 care. I have aged at least 10 years in the past two. My siblings lie and tell everyone that I refuse to let them see, talk, write, call, or even text her, which is a bold-faced lie. However it is believed so my hubby and I and my boys have become the demons of the universe in their eyes. We get no help of any sort from anyone. Is this it? A wait and see approach. She does not and will not for at least another 5 years even begin to qualify for Medicaid. She has medicare, but no money left over out of SSI due to paying off of prior debts. It is such a hopeless situation. Any feedback would be appreciated. She is 88

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Midkid, does your mother have type 1 or type 2 diabetes? Some type 2s who take insulin are not technically dependent on it -- their bodies still produce/can handle some insulin on their own. I imagine that would make some difference in the impact giving up insulin would have.
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My mother is in a similar situation. Her meds are literally keeping her alive, in a life she's not enjoying one bit.

She asked me what would happen if she quit taking everything? I said, "well, you're insulin dependent diabetic--that would be the "death knell". You'd slip into a diabetic coma and that would be it." All the other meds, the cholesterol, HBP, antibiotics, stool softeners, antacids,---you get it--are simply giving her "comfort" The ONLY necessary thing for her is the insulin.

I told her if she was ready, to contact hospice, set up palliative care/hospice whichever suited her needs, put on a comfy nightie and crawl into bed. Nature would take its course.

Of course she interpreted that to mean I want her to die, and got mad. (sigh)

AT age 88, she cannot be hanging on for some amazing cure, can she? I don't know. I've heard that by age 75 most drs want you down to around 7 meds. Who else has heard this? Mother is a walking pharmacy.
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I agree with you, GA. And hospice generally does stop medications that don't have an immediate benefit. But there are a lot of drugs that do not perpetuate life. They just make life more bearable now. And until the very final stage those are the ones that are hardest to decide on.
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JUZ, I'm probably going out on a limb here, but I would agree that the meds are perpetuating a life that from your description doesn't seem to have any meaningful content for your mother.

Throughout over a decade of caring for my father, I've given thought to end of life decisions, what criteria I would evaluate, and how I would make the right decision.

That time is now, well, actually last week, and I'm finding that the qualify of life has deteriorated so drastically that it's not really a decision at all. For us, there is no value in perpetuating life without meaning, under debilitating conditions and nothing pleasant other than perhaps a few moments of visiting with family and friends.

The emotional pain is overwhelming, and although I can't say I will be glad when it's over, I will be glad and relieved when he's not suffering any more.

I've called a lot of palliative and hospice care companies, took my time making a decision, and chose one with which I'm very pleased. It's a nonprofit Catholic facility (we're not Catholic) with the most professional staff I've met outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is a medical teaching community. And the social worker is actually a real social worker who is knowledgeable and doesn't hesitate to get involved.

One of the regular posters here who has done volunteer work with hospice patients recommended a nonprofit hospice, and I found that recommendation to be an excellent one. Given the changes in the last week, I can't even imagine dealing with a for profit hospice company.

That's just my opinion though.
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Key question....where is the money from the house sale?
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Talk with a pharmacist about what medication could cause the cough and if there's a change of a drug. If you have insurance that covers the drugs' costs, that company likely will have a pharmacist that you can discuss this with over the phone, or go to or call the pharmacy providing the meds. Discussing it with a pharmacist at your pharmacy may yield a better result. Mom's pharmacist immediately focused on one of Mom's new meds that caused horrific dizziness to the point of vomiting because she (the pharmacist) thought the dosage was too high--cutting her pills in quarters solved that problem and works perfectly.
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I think you might be misunderstanding something that explained to you about Medicaid.

If the proceeds of the house were used to pay mother's expenses and bills, there is no penalty. Mother's funds should be used to pay for her care. Period.
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What happened with the money she received from selling her house?
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Oh yes, CM, I had that cough with the first blood pressure med I was prescribed. That med is now on my "allergy" list and the meds I am taking instead do not have that side effect. My husband also had that side effect with that med. JUZ4GMA, this might be worth talking to the doctor about! If this is the cause, I can't understand why doctors couldn't easily diagnose it!

The first thing my husband's geriatrician did when he was diagnosed with dementia is to discontinue all his medications except those prescribed by his neurologist. She eventually added most of them back in, when it became clear he was not in final stages (which he appeared to be at the beginning!) The medication list should definitely be reviewed after dementia is part of the picture.

I asked my cardiologist whether a person with dementia should continue his heart medications. He would really rather die of a heart attack than from dementia. The doc said the meds also protected against strokes. People can live after a stroke for many years, but they are often impaired. OK. Husband stayed on those drugs.

I take 3 injectable drugs, plus 23 pills a day. I noticed that my healthcare system has a pharmacist available to their patients. I made an appointment and we went over my med list -- for an hour! She was very thorough. She did find one pill that I could discontinue, as it duplicated something else. But then she suggested I add a supplement, so there was no net change. She assured me that all of the meds were appropriate to my conditions.

Sigh. I guess if you have a lot of conditions you take a lot of pills. I hope someone will be smart enough to reevaluate my meds if I ever get dementia or terminal cancer, etc.
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I know that cough. And I know what it feels like to hear it, day in day out night in night out... It probably comes from her blood pressure medication; and *some* people - not my mother :( - find that alternative medications don't cause the same side effects. Worth asking about.

But in any case, by the time your loved one's px runs to two pages you can't help feeling it's getting a bit ridiculous. This pill treats this, but causes that; so this pill treats that, but causes this and this... You just want to tear the whole thing up and start again.

So if you can, if you have the right kind of conscientious, positive-thinking, patient-focused PCP, I'd ask for a full review of her prescription with the aim of stripping out anything that is not definitely of benefit to her. Memory stimulants, for example - well, do they, stimulate her memory? So's you'd notice?

I'm not by any stretch qualified to comment on the list you've given us, about whether or not your they are keeping your mother alive. I'm just suggesting that you ask, and get her doctors to concentrate on quality of life.

Supporting Jeanne's good advice, I agree that what happened to the proceeds of your mother's house sale is the key question. As long as the money was spent on legitimate purposes and these were properly documented, what has been the problem?
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BTW, I don't know why I assumed you were a daughter. Excuse me if I was wrong.
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Why would selling her house disqualify her from Medicaid? What was done with the money? Who has told you she doesn't qualify for Medicaid?

I wasn't suggesting that she file bankruptcy. Just stop paying on her debts (except any taxes she owes). I hate saying that, but it might be best for Mother.

You should not consider using your money for her care. Just help her use her own resources.

The Medicaid lookback period is 5 years, not 7, although it doesn't sound like that makes much difference in your case.

Don't give up the nice thought until you've explored every possible option to make it work!
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SHE WAS IN PROCESS OF SELLING HER HOUSE WHEN SHE FELL. AS HER POA, I HAD TO NEGOTIATE THE COMPLETING ON THE SALE AFTER SHE MOVED IN WITH ME. THEREFORE, MEDICAID WOULD PENALIZE HER WITH A 7 YEAR LOOKBACK WINDOW B4 COVERING ANY MEDICAL EXPENSES. THAT MEANS HER BEING IN A NURSING FACILITY FOR 7 YEARS TO BE PAID OUT OF POCKET BEFORE COVERAGE WOULD BEGIN. MY LAST NAME IS NOT TRUMP.....MEDICAID HAS MANY, MANY IF'S, AND'S, BUT'S, OR'S AND NOR'S .........CRAZY
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Why won't she qualify for Medicaid?
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WHAT A NICE THOUGHT. DISCUSSED THIS SCENERIO WITH LOCAL NURSING HOME. HER SSI DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO COVER, AND I DON'T HAVE $$ TO HIRE A LAWYER TO BEGIN FILING BANKRUPTCY. ALSO, HER ENTIRE LIFE SHE BEGGED NOT TO BE PUT IN NURSING HOME. THEY HAVE IMPROVED SINCE DAYS GONE BY, BUT HER$$ CANNOT AFFORD HER ONE AND I SURE DON'T HAVE THE FUNDS TO PAY FOR IT. NICE THOUGHT, REALLY NICE THOUGHT...WISH I COULD MAKE IT WORK. THANX
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Would you be happier to see her well-cared for in a nursing home, where you could visit as her loving daughter and not function as a hands-on caregiver?

My suggestion is to stop paying on those debts and use the money to self-pay in a nice nursing home as long as the money lasts, and then apply for Medicaid.
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