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I don't see how a locked cabinet in mom's room would help if step dad had access to it. Better let the meds be stored and dispensed by the staff or competent family members (quite a chore for someone from family to come in everyday ).
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Michael85: Sorry to hear that. You both are relatively young to have those problems.
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Well, I am not in charge of my Ladys meds she is 68 and I am 69. She has some dementia, I don't know what but all the nurses say so. Her predatory has taken advantage of her and she gave him our debit card and pin. He broke us. He is in the pen now drugs. But she needs help with her meds and she has a nurse to visit once a week and I get her to help her with what she needs it is not a job I want.
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It will be quite helpful to have two cassette cases of different colors for the elder's meds. One cassette case will be for night and one will be for day.
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Who would he be Liable to?
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I've been through this with a friend.
First action, seize hold of the prescriptions and make sure that only qualified nursing staff would have them to administer. These can be care nurses outside the home or AL facility!! It is a well-known task for home care personnel and does not cost that much.
I would also confiscate all meds currently in the room and tell the AL admin staff that until your mother gets back to normal (ie never) only qualified nurses may administer the meds - they usually do this by watching the patient take them. I bet the AL staff would be relieved and say yes to this scheme.
Whatever the row with your step-dad, do not give in to him. He is 87 - and no match for a proper care nurse.
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Tell the doctor of your concerns. Ask for a dosette box or webster pack. Ask for a nurse to administer the medications.
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Check to see if your Mother and Dad are in Assisted Living or Independent Living. When Mother was in Independent Living she gave herself meds and eyedrops for years with an outside nurse taking care of reordering and sorting her meds out. Mother ran into a problem when we were keeping her meds in her room,  of popping some drugs. At that point we had meds locked up. I.L. had a service where a Nurses Aid handed her her daily pills and watched that she got her right meds and also handed her eyedrops and watched her give herself the drops twice a day. When Mother was in Personal Care (slightly less services than Assisted Living) the facility administered the drugs. They did a terrible job in that she was having visual hallucinations from them messing up her Glaucoma drops. I caught on that she was receiving the wrong drops in the morning and conversely she was getting the wrong drops at night with only 2 sets of drops instead of three sets per day. When I complained to mgt they retaliated against me by cutting my hours. We moved Mother to a better facility into Assisted Living. During this period all drugs were administered by on Duty Nurses. With Mother needing full time Caregiving, I stayed with her in AL. We eventually changed that to IL at the same fee with me staying with Mother 24 x 7, with 3 meals a day for both of us in the Dinning room and me being Mother's Caregiver.
In our experience, if your Mother and step-Dad are in IL he could be giving her meds but if they are in PC of AL the facility would be responsible for giving her meds. This might vary from state to state but I doubt it.
If the Facility takes over the meds it does not mean that all the med problems are solved. Even the best facilities have different shift schedules, some Nurses or med Techs leaving or starting anew. There can be mix-ups on the meds or in the directions on the med charts. Stay on top of everything. Will keep your family in prayers that you quickly get this all sorted out and that your Mother is protected from your step-dad or any mistakes the facility might make. Also ask the Doctor any questions you might have. Be sure your Mother gets meticulous care. Blessings
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Her medications need to be kept in a locked cabinet. This could be deemed an accident waiting to happen otherwise. My late mother was not controlling her meds until I stepped in to live with her. Someone lucid needs to control this elder's meds.
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At Mom's AL they handled her meds. We used their pharmacy and she was able to use her insurance. Her OC were a little higher. I agree, that he needs to be told that the nurse I noticing Mom having problems and it looks like meds aren't being taken correctly so for her safety they need to take over. I suggest blood tests to see if she has too much in her system. Maybe labs too.
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I agree. Pay the extra cost and tell him this is the non negotiable new policy of the facility.
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Try buying a lockable cabinet & help him organize it - use & mark well tupperware type containers so one for her Rx, one for his Rx, one for over the counter pain, one for tums etc - this will make it easier - do you live close enough to regularly help? - if so every 2-3 weeks do daily meds in reusable pill organizers for them [try different colours for each of them] both if he agrees - then he only needs to bring out that day's pills to keep an eye on - may take some pressure off of him with that help

I say every 2 to 3 weeks because it is wearing to constantly be opening medicine bottles - I do this for myself otherwise I would feel like sick person but now I feel in control & on top of things

If that doesn't work out then tell him there is no choice but using the facility's service - FYI .. it should be tax deductable as a medical expense if Dr orders it -
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A visiting family member (one not close enough to have any direct influence) alerted me and my brother that my stepmom was starting to struggle with my dad's meds. They are in AL, and medication management requires that they be bumped to the next level of care (which does cost a bit more). They are both still mentally competent, but as they approach 90, everything (including remembering stuff) has become more challenging.

When I went out for a visit earlier this year (I live across the country), I discussed my concerns with the nursing staff, and they came over and had my stepmom go through all their meds and tell them what they were for and when they should be given. When stepmom kept getting mixed up, they gently told her it would be much less stressful for them to stop by a couple times a day than for her to have to keep track of it all. After initial reluctance (I think just the idea of someone coming in every day), they adjusted and she admitted to me that it made life easier.

We've been pretty lucky in terms of our AL experience--the folks have been very pleased with their living experience there since they moved in a year and a half ago.
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Sounds like maybe they are in a IL apartment that has an AL facility as well perhaps? I always thought that once on the AL floor the nurses took over too. I only bring that up because the threat of having to move mom to the AL part of the facility might be another threat that could help. I would tell him that the director or facility whatever he knows it as, has contacted you because her lab results are showing that her medication doses are off and that's alarming because she could end up in the ER again or worse. I would say they have a legal obligation to report this to her doctors and maybe even the state (depends on how far you want to go) which will probably end with mom having to be moved to a nursing floor (expensive particularly if she is there and he remains where they are...IDK I'm ad-libbing here) but they wanted to give the family a chance to rectify first by taking the medications, all medications out of the house and managing them from somewhere else. Give him options so he feels in control, the options could be using the service the facility there offers, you or your sister taking over the distribution and setting up a weeks worth or something in packets or pill cases so it's easy to see if meds have been taken, some pharmacies offer a service like this as well or getting one of those med dispensers that gets filled again for a week or a month at a time and unlocks each dose while giving a sound reminder when it's time to take them. Depression can work different ways, for some the responsibility for someone or something else helps and for other, sounds like your SF is in this category, it's too much and adds to the depression. I would venture to guess that it isn't uncommon for spouses and particularly men perhaps, to get more depressed living with and watching their spouse live with increasing dementia. If they can't find the partner or caregiver if that's the relationship, they are so used to having sometimes making that adjustment to "new normal' is impossible for them to do alone. Do your mom and SD have a social group there? Does the facility have anyone who can help him and them through transitioning through one of them having dementia? I would think they might have some experience with that and offer some assistance. Just a thought but a bit off the topic of urgency.
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Expired Tylenol and Alieve won't be harmful in standard doses but they may not work too well, is the thing. But what definitely could be incredibly dangerous is if your mother is glugging these things back and repeatedly losing track of how much she's taken - you don't have to overdose Tylenol by as much as you'd think to wipe out your liver, and it's not a nice way to go.

I just feel really *irritated* with the facility about this. There should be a locked medicine cabinet in each apartment's bathroom or kitchen area, fixed to the wall and marked as such. There should be a clear set of rules, embedded in the initial agreement, about safe storage and handling of medicines which *all* residents are required to keep to, no arguments. It just galls me that they're whining to you and your sister about it instead of addressing the issue frankly, directly and effectively with *their* clients. All they've got to offer is an expensive service designed for people who need end-to-end management? Bloody hell. More gouging. More inflexibility. More un-assisting. Grrrrr. You can see what so annoys your father about it, can't you?

If there isn't an adequate cabinet, get one and get it installed.
With permission - permission in the same sort of sense that soldiers "volunteer", if necessary - go through all their stashes and collect any duff medicines and preparations.
Create an inventory.
Stick copies of px's to the cabinet door.
Get your hands on a copy of the facility's safe storage and handling policy.
Stick that under your father's nose.
Tell him Rules Is Rules, and if he won't keep to them then you know an administrator who will...

Best of luck, hope it all gets sorted.
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In addition, some states allow outside dosage folks to come in and administer meds. When I last looked, it was cheaper to what the facility would charge. Just another option to explore...
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The fib that you have been given should work well. But if worst comes to worst, tell him flat out that having him manage your mom's medication and leaving them out for her to get, has landed her in the ER and he isn't compentent enough to manage it so the AL is taking that over. Sometimes putting the fear of god into somebody is the only thing that will work.
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My mom is 86, no dementia, but she is having trouble remembering things and keeping all her and my dads meds organized.

Some oldsters are still writing great novels and waterskiing at 87. Most are not. They are like my folks and your step dad. Simple tasks become challenging.

I see only the nuclear option for you. You take all the meds away and turn it over to the facility. It will be ww3 but it’s clear that something serious is going to happen soon.

Hopefully step dad will pay the freight at some point.
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Chopin, I am glad that you are being so proactive about this. It truly sounds like a power struggle with your dad with your mom as the victim. I feel better about your decision. It’s not easy to do and be prepared for some anger, resistance and sulking, but you’re protecting your mom. Sending strength!
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I appreciate the input. I am at a loss as to how to get him to agree to having the facility manage my mom's meds. If I mention negligence liability I thought it might scare him but all of you are probably right.. it won't. At this point my sister and I are going to just tell him its non negotiable and we will pay for whatever he won't. Another incident just occurred today where she took expired Tylenol (2005) along with alieve (expired 2007) for some knee pain. Obviously they should not have anything in the house in regards to any type of medication..
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Forgive me, but if this were me, who would be liable or not would not be my first concern. That would be my mom. I would be worried that stepdad, in his depression, may think he’d be doing Mom “a favor” by deliberately overdosing her. Being stubborn and cantankerous is fine as long as it just concerns him. But he’s dragging Mom into the mix. Can you just take the meds? I agree that Dad probably wouldn’t care if someone threatened him with being liable. Step in and take the meds. If you want to fib, tell him the place has a new policy; no more self-medicating. Say there have been too many break-ins with people looking for drugs. Say he has no choice but to let someone else handle the dosing. Protect your mom.
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Who pays the AL bill? If other than step dad is writing out the check - - - tell him the facility wants to be sure your Mom is getting the correct doses and has offered a one year free service of drug distribution. The person who writes the checks will have to be on board, but therapeutic fibbing covers a multitude of situations! : - /
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When my mom was in AL, she wasn't allowed to have a Tums in the room!

Tell Dad whatever you need to. Mom's meds need to be managed professionally. Doctor's orders, dad!
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I too am surprised the meds aren't locked up. This is literally a disaster waiting to happen, when coupled with your father's inability to manage the meds.

As to the liability issue, the staff would be covered b/c they informed you and your family, but I don't know if there would be criminal negligence charges arising from mismanagement of the meds. There could be. You're wise to be concerned, not only for this but b/c there already seems to be some physical repercussions from the mismanagement of the meds.

From your description, he has problems of his own and shouldn't be handling med management.

Expounding on the therapeutic fib, I'd consider just lying to your father and tell him that (a) you're getting a discount on the professional med management issue b/c the staff really likes your mother, or (b) the staff will add this service gratis. Or maybe tell him the facility has changed its rules and will be handling meds for your mother (and other patients). Just don't let him see the statements from the AL facility.

Please let us know what happens. This is a scary situation.
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I don't know if the liability fiblet will make much difference to him. I think the real risk is that the AL facility is likely to ask them to leave (evict) if they feel that Mom's in danger. Maybe that threat will wake up Step Dad.
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Chopin68, it is ok to tell Step-Dad a "theraputic fib". Such as, if Mom gets the wrong dosage, takes too many pills, or takes no pills at all, he could be liable.

I am really surprised that the Assisted Living doesn't demand that the meds be kept under lock at the nurses station. I know my Dad wasn't allow to even have an aspirin in his room. Guess it all depends on State regulations what is allowed or not. When Dad lived in Independent Living, he used the Med-Tech option where all his meds were kept elsewhere and a Tech would bring him his daily dosages. Well worth the cost.
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They are in an assisted living facility. The well being director has contacted me and my sister several times regarding the fact that my mom is looking drugged and her balance is off. She suspects that the medication she is taking is not being administered timely/correctly. She has recommended that they use the service that facility has to offer that will administer the medications timely. My step dad refuses to take advantage of the service because it is expensive. He feels he is capable of giving her medication to her appropriately. My mom has early Alzheimer's and had an ER visit at one point due to taking her medications too many times and at that point my step father took over. My step dad only suffers from depression and seems to sleep a lot (he is 87) and does not keep an eye on my mom. Medications are in a drawer and not locked up so we don't know if my mom is helping herself because she didn't remember my step dad giving them to her. Because the facility has brought these concerns to me and my sister, if something should happen to my mom due to incorrect dosage of medications etc, is there a liability concern for me, my sister and/or my step dad? I ask because I want to drive the point home with my step dad that he not only needs to pay for this service for the well being of my mom but it is also a risk to him in regards to a negligence suit.
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What kind of facility are they in?

Does step dad have dementia or other mental health issues?

How do you know meds are not being administered properly?
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