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Tue Jun 11, 2019, 09:43 PM

Sadly, my live-in mother-in-law's dementia is getting worse.

She takes lots of medicines (for hypertension, cholesterol, ASA, vitamin B, anxiety, and dementia), and about two years ago I started managing the weekly filling of her morning and evening pillbox. On rare occasions, she would forget to take her evening meds, so she would be confused the next day, but it was rare.

Over the last three months, she has been missing more of her evening doses, so my husband and I are checking her pillbox every day to keep her current. Today, I discovered that she no longer understands the SMTWTFS on the box, plus she is easily confused about day and date. So, it looks like we have to dose her now unless I can come up a simpler method. Any ideas?

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Tue Jun 11, 2019, 10:05 PM

1. I don't know if this will help with her meds

but one thing that helped my friend's mom as her dementia got worse, was a clock with the date & day of the week on it (as well as AM and PM, she had taken to calling my friend at 5 AM, thinking it was 5 pm). Everything was in very large letters & numbers.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Tue Jun 11, 2019, 10:11 PM

2. We used this for Mom until she moved in with us.

https://www.amazon.com/MedCenter-70265-Organizer-Reminder-System/dp/B000RZPL0M/ref=mp_s_a_1_13?keywords=alarm+pill+box&qid=1560305364&s=gateway&sr=8-13

She eventually could handle only the current day's strip. It did give us a nice transition to relying on complete caregiver dosage.

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Response to Deb (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 11, 2019, 10:52 PM

5. Good! thank you for this.


Nice tool to keep in mind. I like the alarm idea.

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Response to Deb (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 10:10 AM

11. Wow! What a neat system!

I'd have to introduce it to her gradually. Any changes are difficult for her to learn. It would be great for her if she went to see other family for several weeks.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Tue Jun 11, 2019, 10:22 PM

3. I am so sorry, Ilsa. It is so difficult to be a caregiver to family as we watch them decline...

Every person is different (I helped take care of both of my in-laws as well as my mother) but with my father-in-law he became paranoid as well as confused, so we had to rename his various meds as "vitamins" so he would willingly take them. Unfortunately, with all my parents we had to dose them ourselves once they reached the point of confusion, we feared not missing doses but overdosing. Good luck with your mom-in-law and please take care and be good to yourself too.

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Response to FM123 (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 10:08 AM

10. Overdosing is my fear as well.

The blood pressure medications can be deadly if overdosed. So far, she has missed doses of evening meds, which is the bulk of her dementia meds, including Aricept and Namenda. When she misses a dose, she is easily confused for several days.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Tue Jun 11, 2019, 10:37 PM

4. As my grandmother got less capable (and was at the live-in stage, but before home-nurse-help stage)

we were in a position where someone was helping her get her meals anyway (her arthritis was so debilitating she could not fix a meal on her own), so we just made giving her the meds part of the breakfast/lunch/dinner routine. Between that plus bedtime, which was earlier for her than other people in the household, we were able to supervise her med taking without too much friction. There was an adjustment period, of course, but there was a part of her which recognized she couldn't do it herself anymore.

If she fixes and eats her meals independently, or has meds which must be taken on an empty stomach then this doesn't apply... but for us, taking the relevant parition of the pills from the pill box and putting them next to her place setting/meal worked for us, and anyone in the family could do it because the main care-giver in the family set the pill box up each week.

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Response to RockRaven (Reply #4)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 10:03 AM

9. Thank you.

She's able to care for herself during the day, but I suspect there is some sundowning occurring, and it is worse on days when she's been more active or had more stress.

I can conceive of a time, eventually, when she will need help preparing her lunch, until bedtime. Thankfully, she's in a pretty good place so far, all things considered.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 05:15 AM

6. has a doctor evaluated her meds lately

is it possible they need to be adjusted, that they are worsening her symptoms

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Response to Skittles (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 09:57 AM

7. Her meds were looked at by a dr (hospitalist)

in the hospital one month ago. As I suspected, her BP meds had been jacked up too high by her cardiologist, and that had caused some orthostatic hypotension, but nothing worse. She takes Namenda bid and Aricept hs. Her Aricept dose was doubled a year ago, and it helped.

She sees her regular internist within a month.

(The hospital stay messed her up due to a protocol for all admits: Miralax to prevent constipation. I told the nurses when she was admitted to the floor that she takes Metamucil 2-3x a day to bulk up her stools. She didn't get her Metamucil and they gave her Miralax. She was up all night, dizzy, crapping to the point where they had to give her IV fluids. And so much for Fall Precautions.)

Any way, she is starting to need more of our attention, and bless her heart, she hates being dependent.

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Response to Ilsa (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 10:00 AM

8. This morning she is better.

I think she is getting a little sundowning more frequently. At the end of the day, she can't figure out the simplest issues, and I've seen this before.

So, I might make her morning pillbox available to her, but keep her evening pillbox upstairs, to be administered by her son, grandson, or me.

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