How does my mom take medicine that hasn’t been given to her?
Over a year and half ago, I took medication management away from my mom. This was always something that she had managed successfully, from ordering online to dosing. It slowly became frustrating for her to make sure she had medicine to take. The right medicine wasn’t being ordered and for others there were nine months supply on hand.
This is how it unfolded. Every two weeks when it was time to fill the weekly pill dispenser, medications would be spread all over her kitchen table. The pills go in and out of containers for hours. Tedious notes were made – do not ask, the notes made no sense, well they made sense but totally unnecessary. She was copying the information off the bottle labels. No! the labels weren’t going anywhere but the cabinet!
Yes, before you say it, I did offer to take over this task bimonthly. I was met with, “I can do it.”
So as usual, I retreat and ponder as I go about all my other tasks and responsibilities.
After a period of time for me to think, I came up with the next step. We could do it together, rather she could sit and I would do it in her presence. A way to have my mom keep her dignity. This did lessen her stress. As I became more efficient, this allowed me to take over ordering. Which lead into me “holding” the medications. Then I began doing them on my own, I would tell her it was time and she just isn’t timely arriving to anything. Which means I started and finished before she came out. I am sure it wasn’t just avoidance on her part, right?
Second benefit of this move, I was able to control the amount of excess medications that were on hand. There wasn’t actually a worry that they would expire, which I checked. But that the doctor could actually discontinue the medication that was in surplus before it was consumed!!! Which equals waste, waste of money and medications. (Even with Medicare and a secondary, the cost to her is insane!)
Ultimately, I was able to the take over the medications completely. You would think – oh all issues avoided! Not.
We use homemade dose paks to this day. I believe we watch her take her medications. She is handed the dose pak and asked to consume them. So today’s frustration, without coming out for breakfast yet – she announced to my middle son that she had already taken her medications.
That is not possible – I have not yet given them to her! Is there a phenomenon going on in her bathroom that researchers should be aware of? Ok , maybe not researchers – but The National Enquirer!?
We have incorporated Granny and Poppy just into our daily lives, like with Paul, the 20 year old, they are given a certain level of autonomy. This isn’t a locked down environment with bells going off at medication time. Everyone is entitled to dignity. Prescribed medications are more serious than an Glucerna maybe.
If she has an “extra” morning or evening pill bag, it could mean a couple things. She didn’t take it on another day. Concerning. Or it is very old and she found it, in a drawer, in another bag, under her socks. Immediate question that can not be answered, were they the right dosages of the correct medications? Were they even the correct meds? (There have been a few that have been discontinued due to hallucinations.)
So what my mom sees as a win – she got up on her own, dressed, came out for coffee and had located and consumed her morning meds. I view differently. My mind starts racing -when was the last time we changed morning medicines? When did I walk away while she was starting to take meds? Mental note, listen for key words to indicate a change in attitude, anger or hallucinations for the next few days. Is there anything that could be of danger to mom? (This is a no right now – but still goes through my mind.)
Don’t call Adult Protective Services – this probably happens more frequently than anyone knows in other homes. Seniors take the wrong medication or the wrong dosage unintentionally. I regularly “snoop” through my mom’s hiding places looking for meds. I have found bottles from years ago that hadn’t been there two weeks prior! They are disposed of immediately (and properly).
Additionally, my mom isn’t resistant to taking her medications, she has every intent – but distractions! Now we reset and go back to vigilantly watching each pill be swallowed.
To recap, if your loved one takes prescription medications I highly suggest:
- Listing the current medications being taken.
- Check for expired medications in cabinets and drawers (or any hidey-holes).
- Dispose of expired medications – your pharmacy may have suggestions for your locale.
- Set a regular time to review/reorder medications monthly.
- Consider placing all medications in one dose bag, morning, noon, evening – however you need them. (There are pharmacies that do this as well.)
- Remember – let your love one maintain their dignity if you need to take over dispensing and/or dosing.
- Keep your loved one safe and following the doctor’s prescribed orders.
Tell me there is an easier way. Share with me how you have been wildly successful – I want to be that! What am I missing? And if you are from The National Enquirer – let’s chat!!!
Have a blessed day.
“Strive not to be a success, But rather to be of value.”Albert Einstein