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My 78 year old, Italian immigrant, father suffers from severe depression and paranoia and refuses to take medicine. He lives alone, so mashing it in his food is not an option. Do you know any creative ways to get him to take medicine? I am open to harmless lying!

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How do you know that he is not taking his medicine being he lives alone? Have you asked him why he dosen't won't to take his medicine? Has the dosage change since last time you saw him?
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Have a long sit down face to face talk with him, convince him depression is like a broken leg, its not going to cure itself. Tell him how much you love him and how this little pill will change his world and to just give it a week to start.(white lie?) Tell him the doctor has the right to put him in a nursing home, etc if he isnt able to live alone and he might not be able to unless he controls his moods, etc. try it all, best of luck to you. As far as sneaking it in, you need to take antidepressants consistantly or they fool with your head bigtime. Keep him on track if you can get him to take them, dont skip any. As fas as lying to him, I hear ya, but according to laws, he has the right to know he is taking pills and in a nursing home he can refuse. All you can do it try your best and keep close daily contact with him either way. Good luck.
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Give him or her some applesauce with the pill. It works with my mother.
Good Luck
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does the depression have to do with the loss of his spouse? My Father passed away almost two years ago. Not two weeks after he died my Mother had a heart attack. Prior to that she had not been on any medications. I have had GREAT diffuculty getting her to take her medication. Her reasoning is that if she does not take them she will die and go to heaven to be with my Dad... However from a medical standpoint that is NOT neccesarily the case. She could have another heart attack or a stroke and be incapacitated for along time. I am her primary caregiver and she cannot reason now so it makes life interesting.
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How's his mobility? Exercise is effective as an alternative tx for depressive disorders. If you can get him out for a short walk every day, that may help. Exercise releases endorphines, improves sleep, enegery and mood. Have med's been prescribed? Has he tried them? Some patients who are paranoid feel food/meds are poison. Others don't care for the way they make them feel. There are many med's across several catagories with quite a variation in side effects. Often some trial/error is required. Many men have difficulty admitting depression, viewing it as a weakness--but it's not it's a brain problem that can't just be willed away. Also, many view it as a spiritual problem, rather than a medical issue. Your dad's behavior is a form of communication. As Jeanne said, different reasons would require different interventions. What do you think he is trying to communicate? He lives alone, could he be lonely. Would a pet help him? Lots of possible variables here. Can you think of a triggering event when you first noticed the depression?
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I guess I'd start from why he doesn't take it, if you can determine that. Forgets? Thinks it might poison him? Has a hard time swallowing? Feels it is not manly to take depression meds? Thinks he doesn't need them? Different reasons might respond to different approaches.
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