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Helping Mum keep her independence ...

cathsheff

Registered User
Aug 3, 2014
14
So far Mum is managing to live on her own, with someone coming in once a week to clean and us coming over once a fortnight (about to increase to once a week) to take her out to lunch, do the shopping and whatever else is needed. She has the red emergency button, a local 'ready call' service who can do odd bits of shopping, the neighbours, and we order ready meals for her so she can have a reasonable diet.

My husband rings every day primarily to see if she's taken her tablets (this isn't dementia medication, as she hasn't been prescribed any, but for her heart etc). This often means 2, 3 or 4 call backs because she says yes and then forgets. We went over today and there were two full batches of tablets on her side table, so that's two days she's missed, despite telling him each day she's taken them (once she takes them out of the mediwallet she forgets all about them and thinks she must have had them).

We've been racking our brains to think of any better way of managing this situation - it's probably our biggest worry at present, but short of someone going in each day and standing over her while she takes them, we are short on ideas! Anyone dealt with this situation and found something that works? We just want to enable her to stay in her own home as long as it is safe for her to do so, which is what she wants, and in other respects it's currently manageable...

Any ideas very welcome, thanks!!
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,904
London
Contact adult social services and ask for a needs assessment. They could arrange carers coming in four times a day to make sure she eats and takes her meds. Tell them they have a duty of care for a vulnerable adult at risk. Not taking her meds puts her at risk.
 

Quilty

Registered User
Aug 28, 2014
1,051
GLASGOW
My mum had a docit box which kept her independant for another 18months with daily visits from me. Also a dementia clock with day and date. Get yourself one toi fir your own house and say you thought she would have liked one too. Check the house fir trip hazards and move any dangerous chemicals. A white board next to the dementia cl8ck for reminders. Add jokes and love messages too to make her laugh after you have gone home. Phone numbers on the whiteboard too. Your gp can give you a soecial pod for in the fridge where your write names of any medecines and put a stickercat the front door telling emergency services its there. And give contact numbers to any kind neighbours. Add ice - in case of emergency - details to mums purse or/and mobile.

Sirry its so much but i could write a book after what i have learned in the last few years. Last thing - get her address book sorted in case you need to help with christmas cards later. Positive affirmitive action!
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,904
London
The lady already has a mediwallet, I don't see how a dossette box will change the fact she forgets to takes the meds once she takes them out. Carers coming in supervising seems to be the way to go to me.
 

Jonny1

Account on hold
Apr 9, 2015
10
Nantwich, Cheshire
I have a solution that can help you

We have exactly the same problem with our mum. She lives independently with the help of carers and a fall detection system. I was so frustrated that I could not remind her about her diabetes and other medication as I spend a lot of my day in meetings. So I've developed a prototype smartphone app (it works on Apple and Android phones) that allows me to schedule messages that i've recorded in my voice to be delivered as one off or recurring messages to her home phone, technology she knows and trusts. I then get a notification on my smartphone that lets me know if a person or an answerphone picked up the reminder. If I get a couple of missed reminders in a row I ask a neighbour to pop in to see if she is ok. If you or anyone wants to try it out drop me a message.

So far Mum is managing to live on her own, with someone coming in once a week to clean and us coming over once a fortnight (about to increase to once a week) to take her out to lunch, do the shopping and whatever else is needed. She has the red emergency button, a local 'ready call' service who can do odd bits of shopping, the neighbours, and we order ready meals for her so she can have a reasonable diet.

My husband rings every day primarily to see if she's taken her tablets (this isn't dementia medication, as she hasn't been prescribed any, but for her heart etc). This often means 2, 3 or 4 call backs because she says yes and then forgets. We went over today and there were two full batches of tablets on her side table, so that's two days she's missed, despite telling him each day she's taken them (once she takes them out of the mediwallet she forgets all about them and thinks she must have had them).

We've been racking our brains to think of any better way of managing this situation - it's probably our biggest worry at present, but short of someone going in each day and standing over her while she takes them, we are short on ideas! Anyone dealt with this situation and found something that works? We just want to enable her to stay in her own home as long as it is safe for her to do so, which is what she wants, and in other respects it's currently manageable...

Any ideas very welcome, thanks!!
 

Lancashirelady

Registered User
Oct 7, 2014
110
My Mum has a dossett box and carers 3 times a day to give her the meds, which are kept in a safe so that she can't take any by mistake. It's the only way to make sure she ges her meds at the right time. If your Mum would be self funding you can just find a care company yourselves as going through SS ofen takes weeks if not months - and having the carers coming in would also give her a bit of extra company every day
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
It would be worth having carers at least twice a day to make sure she takes her meds safely. if she is forgetting her meds it is quite possible that her meals are up the spout too so it would solve two probs in one as they could check that she is making a meal. My ma would make a meal, leave it, forget about it and then throw it away if we were lucky or eat it (even worse if it had been sitting there for 24 hours) and I didn't realise what was happening - and I was in the house at least twice every day. So if they had a brief to sort food, meds and drink it might help prolong her independence and health anyway. Just a thought
 

DMac

Registered User
Jul 18, 2015
535
Surrey, UK
It would be worth having carers at least twice a day to make sure she takes her meds safely. if she is forgetting her meds it is quite possible that her meals are up the spout too so it would solve two probs in one as they could check that she is making a meal. My ma would make a meal, leave it, forget about it and then throw it away if we were lucky or eat it (even worse if it had been sitting there for 24 hours) and I didn't realise what was happening - and I was in the house at least twice every day. So if they had a brief to sort food, meds and drink it might help prolong her independence and health anyway. Just a thought
I would be inclined to agree with fizzie, having carers to visit regularly would reduce the risk of forgetting to take meds and eat. I love the idea of Jonny's tech solution, but I feel in some cases only human contact will do. Good luck. xx
 

cathsheff

Registered User
Aug 3, 2014
14
Thanks

Sorry docit box is made by chemist and has a little packet for each day and d9se of medicine.
Thanks Quilty - but she does already have a mediwallet which works as you describe - the problem is she takes the pills out and leaves them on her side table, and then thinks she's actually taken them! Even when we're with her we occasionally realise she's finished her drink but not taken the tablets.
I'm inclined to think that those who've said carer coming in every day (Beate, fizzie, Dmac) is the only way we can be sure - she takes all her tablets in one go so it might only need one visit per day at the moment, and depending on the timing we could ask them to check that she's eaten/about to eat and remind her about the ready meals.
We'll have a family conference asap and see about contacting social services (we've had no support really since she was initially diagnosed).
Jonny's solution I don't think will work - we already ring every day and go through the whole 'have you taken your tablets, what tablets? the tablets in your mediwallet. What day is it? etc etc' but if she says yes, and OH asks 'are you sure, are there any tablets on your table' and she says she's sure, we can't verify that she hasn't put the tablets in her cardie pocket, or in a pot on the mantlepiece etc... I think someone has to be there, unfortunately!
Many thanks all for chipping in - it does help just to air these things with people who are going through it or have done.

Thanks all,
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
It might be helpful to give both these helplines a ring and explain the situation and find out what services are available in your mothers area.
There are all sorts of services that can be accessed and these are the key places to get information along with your local carers organisation

. Age UK are also very good at practical advice and help - Age UK Advice line free national advice line that is open 365 days a year 24 hours a day. To talk to someone, just call 0800 169 2081.


The Dementia helpline is a useful number to have

lzheimer's Society National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 1122 can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.

The Helpline is usually open from:
9am - 8pm Monday to Wednesday
9am - 5pm on Thursday and Friday
10am - 4pm on Saturday and Sunday

and a bit of additional of info

I would strongly advise you to join your local carers organisation - they usually have a carers cafe (and so do Alzheimers society in some areas) and it is worth a morning off to go and find out what help there is in your area over a cup of coffee - lots of friendship and support face to face and everyone in the same boat.

If there are issues with incontinence all areas have a continence service - you will need to look up your Trust or google your area plus Continence Service. The continence nurses we have had have been wonderful and pads are supplied free by the NHS.

Good luck
 

garnuft

Registered User
Sep 7, 2012
6,585
Mam not taking her tablets (for heart and thyroid problems) and the ailments and illnesses that resulted were one of the first signs of dementia (that and opening all the labelled Xmas presents we'd prepared for family) without a doubt, Beate's right.
Your Mum needs someone to wait, encourage and watch while she takes them.

Then your Mum'll grumble because she's being 'made' to take tablets, well...mine did, every day, twice a day for over 4 years! :)
But there is no other way.


Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
I agree that someone coming in is probably the only way. When short term memory is very bad, someone is apt to forget even in a few seconds what they were doing, or were supposed to do. We tried ringing my mother to remind her about meds, but soon realised that she would forget almost the instant she had put the phone down.

If there is any difficulty about getting her to accept someone coming in, you could try 'blaming it on the doctor', I.e. the GP has said she MUST have someone to make sure she takes her meds.