Getting Mother in Law to take her daily pills on time (or at all!)

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by Jimmy1145, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. Jimmy1145

    Jimmy1145 Registered User

    Aug 22, 2015
    My Wife's parents are staying this week - my mother in law has been diagnosed with early stages of dementia, maybe not Alzeimers but very similar. She has been given several sets of medicine, which has patently been prescribed to help with symptoms. She has a slight heart condition that makes her breathless, exacerbated by long term breathing difficulties for which she has an inhaler. Other than getting tired easily, she is in reasonable health for her age (82).

    Here is the problem....she should take the tablets on a regular basis, but either forgets or decides they are not working?! Dad, has tried to take charge ie. look after the dispensing, but gets shouted at for interfering and is told she can look after herself, which she patently cannot do. We, as a family, are prompting her to ensure she takes them, but then we get shouted at, which though we can cope with, makes mealtimes "real fun"! She has taken to trying to hide the fact that she has not taken the medication by removing pills from their box and putting them to one-side, for later? We have suggested a reminder system, but as she thinks they are not working she is not interested.

    Can anyone suggest a way forward? We live an extended distance away from the both of them and they go home on Tuesday. At home, she is happy in her own space, but will still not take the medication, if she forgets or again decides they are not working.

    Thank you for reading this post
  2. Lavender45

    Lavender45 Registered User

    Jun 7, 2015
    I had a problem with mum and her tablets, she really resented my sorting them into a weekly dispenser and we were having daily arguments, she was really nasty and unreasonable, pushing her face towards mine and baring her teeth. In the end I took a hard line which some people will strongly disagree with. I sat mum down with the dispenser and the pills and asked her to sort them. She very quickly realised that it was too much for her to organise (16 tablets a day) and she has not complained since (touch wood).

    Mum has grumbled about the number of tablets insisting that she only has 1 a day. To head this off we went through the boxes of tablets I told her what each one was for and asked so do you want to stop your blood pressure tablets, do you want to stop the quinine tablets for cramp etc. I was lucky she accepted she needs every one even of she doesn't like it.

    Above all what seems to have helped a lot is the antidepressant the GP prescribed. Mum has been taking them about 3 weeks and she is generally happier and much less argumentative. The medication and some tough love has given us more relaxed household. Long may it last. Maybe medication could help your mum in law too? Might be worth a discussion with her GP?
  3. Jimmy1145

    Jimmy1145 Registered User

    Aug 22, 2015
    Thank you!

    Thanks for responding - good points all. Made some progress yesterday, so taking it a step at a time

  4. Rageddy Anne

    Rageddy Anne Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    Might she take it more seriously if her GP explained to her exactly why she needs to take the tablets? My husband is fiercely independent and now in mid stage Alzheiers, but he accepts anything the GP tells him.
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Are you getting the pills from the chemist in a dossett pack (blister pack), so the pills are already sorted? If not, you might find it makes things a bit easier, so have a word with your pharmacist.
  6. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    When dad went through a phase of refusing meds, his consultant was kind enough to let me know which tablets were must haves and which I could just not give if dad was being obstinate - his opinion was that it wasn't overall worth the battle to get him to take what could be missed and have him in a rage; that it was more important to keep dad calm and relaxed so that he might take them next time - so not building up a completely negative vibe over pills.
    He also suggested trying different times to offer the meds - and to take them to him but back off immediately if he began to resist and just try again a little later as if it were the first time. So could pills for her be given/prompted/offered after meals so that at least the meal is a more pleasant procedure and she isn't associating meals with meds and negative feelings. And maybe a favourite sweetie afterwards.
    And definitely no explanations or attempts to talk round etc - just take pills or not and leave it at that.
    I did find that I was then more relaxed about the 'problem' and though he still refused on occasion, the times he was totally obstinate became rare and he would usually comply the second time, say 10 mins later (often when he was in a different room, say had moved from eating at table to sitting in living room).
    I guess he felt that he had more control if he said no, and was free to change his mind when he wanted OR he had had enough time to forget he had refused - and wasn't carrying a negative feeling with him because I had just been 'business like' not creating any emotion. Though thinking back - if he did take the meds I always thanked him and praised him, so I suppose I was trying to create a positive feeling to go with the pill taking.
    Also. I believe some meds can be crushed and put in food/drinks or cut in half so are smaller and some can come in liquid form - BUT CHECK FIRST with your GP and chemist as it is dangerous to do this with some pills, so you shouldn't just do it off your own bat.

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