New here and need advice about medication and carers

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Debf, May 31, 2015.

  1. Debf

    Debf Registered User

    May 31, 2015
    11
    Hampshire
    I’m new to this forum but have been visiting it on and off and found it really helpful. It’s such a relief that I’m ‘not alone’.
    Mum (85 now) was diagnosed with a mixture of Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia in November last year. She is living alone and she is nowhere near needing a care home yet. I had seen a decline since we lost Dad in 2010 but it took a while for the NHS to see this. She has been on medication for diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol for a while and she is now on Donepezil too. She wasn’t taking her medication properly so the Doctor readjusted her meds to once a day – in a simple blister pack. She insists that she is good at taking pills and can’t understand why I’m still collecting a good handful each week from various ‘hiding’ places.
    She has reluctantly agreed to have a carer in once every week day when I work to prompt medication but is horrified that she has to pay for this and doesn’t see the point as “I always take my pills”. 4 days after the visits started I had a call to say that Mum has been opening the blister packs telling the carer that she has already taken some, they have noticed these pills (mostly Metformin as they are huge) hidden behind the kettle, under paperwork or on the coffee table. Today I installed a lockable medicine cabinet, the carer can access the key in the key safe at the door and I have one. As of this evening, Mum is aware that her meds are in this box but doesn’t realise that she can’t access them ........... I’m dreading tomorrow.
    I’ve also taken the first invoice from her and not sure about this but ................. I have online access to her bank account and hope to pay by transfer. Mum still gets her bank statements but I’m hoping she doesn’t notice the amount or she will cancel for sure. Is that ethical? I have lasting power of attorney and it’s in her best interest but I hate going behind her back?
    Lastly, I’m so relieved to put this in writing – there is a lot more but I’m coping with most things. You are all full of experience and good advice so you may see me on here again.
     
  2. sheila55

    sheila55 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2014
    52
    #2 sheila55, May 31, 2015
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    I would say if you have POA then it is ethical. Could you not have the bank statements sent to your address? Would she notice if they didn't arrive? I'm surprised the bank didn't do this when you gave them the POA.

    Not being able to cope with her medication was a big problem for my Mum. It is too important to ignore. You have to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. You just need to harden your heart. She will get used to the new routine. Sorry that sounds harsh - I don't mean it to. It is difficult to get used to the role reversal! Good Luck and Take care. x
     
  3. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,761
    Salford
    Hi Deb, welcome to TP
    I think you've done the best thing with the tablets, they are important particularly the blood pressure ones. I'd try (again) to reminder her how important it is she takes them particularly if she has friends or relative who've had a stoke or a heart attack, I've found that if you can get them to take tablets for one thing then they'll generally take them all.
    On the paying for care it's not a question of being ethical, you have POA so it's perfectly legal and very much in her best interest that someone does go in and do her meds with her so of course it's the right thing to do. Is it even likely that she might spot it, is she capable of checking her bank statements? If so then some plausible lie is probably the best bet, any suggestions everybody?
    K
     
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,829
    UK
    Your doing what you have to, what alternatives are there. That's why you got POA, to deal with her finances, do you really think she still reads her bank statements? if she does spot it, tell her it was a mistake and you'll sort it. I would request that in future the bank sends statement to your home if that's possible.

    Its odd how quickly we carers learn the art of deception/distraction!
     
  5. Debf

    Debf Registered User

    May 31, 2015
    11
    Hampshire
    Wow - thanks for your quick replies :) I have statements sent to me but Mum also gets copies. I don't think she checks them as she is always worried about having enough money to buy things (she has plenty). My Mum is a very clever woman who's brain has gone wrong. I have a really good friend in elderly mental health who has assured me that given time, the carer will become part of her normal life ............... she doesn't know my Mum! I may post again in the next few days when she discovers that I've gone one step ahead of her again :confused:
     
  6. sheila55

    sheila55 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2014
    52
    I really hate to post a negative comment but I have to tell you my Mum, who sounds a bit like yours, never accepted carers coming into her house. I used to get regular phone calls telling my "I've had one of these damn women at the door again". I happened to be there one evening when the carer arrived and my Mum told her "Thank you my dear but if I need any help I will let you know" in her most patronising voice and put her out the door. I can laugh about it now. Unfortunately, after a fall, Mum landed in hospital then a care home. She is now in an EMI unit and has no option but to accept the help she can no longer manage without.
     
  7. Debf

    Debf Registered User

    May 31, 2015
    11
    Hampshire
    Oh Sheila - that is what I expect. She is a very independent and bossy woman and I fear that her diabetes will get the better of her. I tried really hard to get her to take her medication before I took her out today. 40 minutes of sighing and trying to swallow tablets (she tried hiding them too) and I have to admit I gave up. She did choke on the large ones and promised faithfully to take them at tea time. While we were out she had a dizzy spell and I told her it was because she hadn't take her pills. Complete denial............................
     
  8. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    #8 Pickles53, May 31, 2015
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    Or if you have online banking access you can request no paper statements to be sent at all. That's what I did. If mum does ask it's easy enough to print a statement off, though mum never asked about them once they stopped turning up in the post.

    She was also horrified that the carers were not free. I told her the cost as I was trying to persuade her she could ask them to do more; she thought they were coming in as a favour and 'didn't want to take up too much of their time'. Should have kept quiet! I learned from that and when it came to much bigger care home fees I never discussed the actual cost, just assured her she had enough money.
     
  9. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,574
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    Can any of the tablets be cut in half with a pill cutter to make it easy to swallow?

    My Mum has AD & Dad has cognitive impairment.
    I had to take over both their meds when I found Dad wasnt taking the right dose for his prostate issue and ended up in hospital with a severe urinary infection, and Mums meds were increased and caused to much confusion.

    Initially I had them made up in blister packs, but that still confused them both.
    According to Mum, she has never ever forgotten to take her meds, has never ever taken more than she should and has never dropped them like Dad :rolleyes:

    I have been through several types of pill containers with Mum.
    I always laugh to myself when the pharmacist says why don't I just get them in blister packs for Mum, so much easier :rolleyes: this is even after telling them she has Alzheimers.
    Getting some kind of locked box will be the next step.

    I have financial POA for Mum & Dad, and have had authority on their bank accounts for years. I just make sure everything is recorded and references on their bank statements.
    Could you cancel your Mums bank statements? Would she realise that shes not getting them? I have had to cancel all my parents bills and statements and get most sent to me by email.
    Please don't feel any guilt if what you are doing is for your Mums best interests.
     
  10. Isabella41

    Isabella41 Registered User

    Feb 20, 2012
    901
    Northern Ireland
    HI Debf your mum sounds just like my own mum. I did battle over the pills for years. Even in the blister packs there were issues. She would tell the carers to "leave them there and I'll take them in a minute". No amount of phone calls to the care agency pleading with them to understand why the carers must watch her take the pills worked. Same with the carers. She allowed them in but apart from heating her lunch refused all other help. In the end it was her refusal to cooperate with either me or the carers that saw her in an EMI unit a lot earlier than was necessary. Mum always was a very stubborn and determined woman and the dementia only made this worse.
    As you have POA I'd be switching to paperless statements as then there is no chance of having arkward conversations. For me there is no dilemma as the carers are in her best interests.
     
  11. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    Deb, welcome to TP and hope you continue to find helpful information and advice here; there's a lot of it to be had.

    I am sorry to hear about your mother and her dementia and other medical problems. That's a lot to be coping with. You sound like you are coping more than reasonably well and that you really care for your mum.

    Working on the medication situation and getting power of attorney to handle the finances are good things to make sure she is taken care of. They are not easy to do, so well done you. I hear you on both situations as my own mother, now in a care home but living alone with no help until January of this year, had problems with both and also came to grief on the medication situation more than once.

    I also got PoA and now handle all her finances. To be honest with you, I started to write to you, "you have PoA so it's legal and ethical and appropriate for you to act in her best interests and don't question yourself!!" in a very bossy way. I still want to say those things, but I will temper it by saying that I had the same hesitation at first when I took over the finances from my mother. I remember feeling uncertain about it, even though I knew it was the right thing to do. I think there is a feeling of uncertainty about it at first, but you have to do what needs to be done. In my case, the alternative would have been bills not getting paid or getting overpaid, utilities shut off, insurance lapsing, et cetera, so you might ask yourself, what would happen if you didn't take care of things for her? I think you know the answer.

    On a practical standpoint, yes, you might try stopping the paper statements to your mother. My own mother has not noticed, or at least has not mentioned, that she no longer receives bank statements, bills, or any other "official" mail. I think she is happier, and definitely less stressed, not to receive it and of course I know everything is taken care of, because I am doing it myself.

    Definitely try not to beat yourself up or spend energy and time feeling guilty. Do take care of yourself, and come back and let us know how you get on, when you get a chance. Lots of people here rooting for you!
     
  12. mousehold

    mousehold Registered User

    Mar 25, 2015
    27
    Norfolk
    My mum had a carousel pill box which dings when pills need taking and won't stop till they are taken out (and hopefully taken!) Also doc made sure there were no big pills cos she couldn't swallow them. On the other subject, I really know what you mean. I actually used to feel guilty throwing out a mouldy cabbage as she used to say 'don't throw my food away', not that she could cook at that stage. I felt the same about money but when I just decided to do it without telling her she didn't notice and also didn't have to bother with bills, statements etc coming. Out of sight out of mind. I'm glad I just decided to take over cos she really didn't notice, worry went away - the only thing was some things you can't control like phone calls trying to dupe vulnerable people and all the charity requests through the door! I had to go through her standing orders cancelling all the 10 charities she had joined and found her card and took it. You get to the stage when you have to be a bit of a control freak, but you're not really doing that, you're trying to make life easier and protect her.
     
  13. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    This is a good thought for anyone who is feeling awkward about 'taking over' and making decisions for a parent. What happens if you don't step in? Most likely, something they would like even less. They used to tell us 'it's for your own good' and that's exactly why we can't always give them what they say they want when the roles are reversed.
     
  14. beverrino

    beverrino Registered User

    Jan 12, 2015
    1,111
    as my dad dealt with all of the finances before he died in November, my mum would have found it difficult without Alzheimer's - but with it impossible! She panics when a letter arrives especially to do with anything financial. I have POA on my mums bank accounts and switched to paperless straight away. The bank were very good and agreed all post from them would come to me and not my mum. It is difficult dealing with someone else's finances and for me it was learning abut exactly how everything was managed. Dad was immensely private and after his death we found accounts all over to sort out.
    My mums medication is also controlled by a lockable pill dispenser: http://www.tabtime.com/medelert.html - but sometimes she takes out the tablet and leaves it on the table and forgets to take it. She insists she has to take it with food (even though I tell her she doesn't). The morning medication is not usually an issue and she takes it with her breakfast and is much more 'alert' on a morning too. Its the later one that the problem. So I am there at that time each day (if I cant I try and get someone else to go) - to make sure that when it comes out of the machine - she actually takes it. This doesn't stop her telling me off for insisting she takes it. She is very stubborn - and I breathe a sigh of relief on the days she just takes it without arguing!
     
  15. its a struggle

    its a struggle Registered User

    Thank you!

    Mousehold, thank you for this post. I don't feel so bad now. I too have been struggling to reconcile the actions I am taking on MILs behalf. I regularly throw away rotting food and no longer mention it. It was about £50 worth on Friday. Same with financial matters (we have POA for both health & finance). Deal with it all and only tell her edited highlights. I have as much as possible on line or use my address for hard copy stuff. We still have no diagnosis apart from MCI, but Mum just does not comprehend what official documents are tell her, or asking her to do.

    When she moved house 3 years ago she cancelled all DD before telling utilities etc that she was moving - took me 6 months to sort that lot out while she kept on about sending them a really stiff letter about the inconvenience:roll eyes: I try to avoid that at all costs as her letters of complaint run to 4 pages:eek:

    Also posting picture of Mums fridge - all this for a little old lady of 85.........
     

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  16. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    itsastruggle-thank you for the photo of the refrigerator! That's exactly what my mother's fridge looked like, before we cleaned it out (and there was some very, very, VERY old stuff in there--food years out of date). My mother's in a care home now but when we take her shopping, she still buys loads and loads of snacks, although she doesn't eat them as fast as she buys them. There seems to be a sort of "comfort level" of having enough food--never mind that 3 meals a day and all the snacks she can eat are provided!

    Nice to know we are not alone with the dementia weirdness.
     
  17. Debf

    Debf Registered User

    May 31, 2015
    11
    Hampshire
    Thanks for all your replies. I've just phoned Mum as usual and she didn't mention the locked medicine box so I'm just waiting to hear from the care agency to see how that went down. I've also tried to pay the bill online from her account but it's failed - need to call the bank to ensure I can do these payments for her. I do feel reassured that I'm doing the right thing thanks to you all and now feel a bit daft questioning it ;)

    'its a struggle' - I only wish my Mums fridge looked like your photo! I do make a point of clearing it out but she has stuff that doesn't even resemble it's past life! If I pull out a bag of rotting veg she'll assure me that some of it is fine and to leave it for tomorrow! I also wish that the producers could add the year to the use/sell by date as some of her stuff say's use by 10th June but I have no idea what year! I found ready grated parmesan cheese tucked behind the food processor that helpfully had the year - 1995 :eek:
     
  18. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    Deb, don't worry about feeling daft for questioning yourself about the finances. I think that sometimes we get a bit stuck, and then when we finally work through to a new perspective or place or whatever you want to call it, the old perspective does look odd by comparison.

    I just re-read that and I'm not at all sure it makes sense, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.

    I hear you on the cheese! There were cheese slices and butter in my mother's fridge that were dated, um, several years ago. I'm not super fussy about expiry dates but that was too much for me!!
     
  19. count2ten

    count2ten Registered User

    Dec 13, 2013
    186

    The guilt can be more exhausting than the practical care at times - but it was a light bulb moment when someone told me to remember that it was the dementia that had moved my mother into a CH, not me. I can relate so much to what Pickles 53 says. I had beaten myself up so much about taking over her life I was becoming no use to anyone. But someone had to make the decisions , and I know that most of our loved ones would be saying to us "thanks for taking over and looking out for us when we needed it". They would do the same for us no doubt, and we're all doing the best we can.
     
  20. Debf

    Debf Registered User

    May 31, 2015
    11
    Hampshire
    Just have to share .............. Mum hasn't mentioned the locked med box and she didn't notice that I took the invoice for the carer. I couldn't seem to transfer the money from her bank so called them. As soon as I said I was the POA for Mum the guy on the phone didn't ask for any details but told me he was PAO for an elderly relative too and gave me a tip that worked :)

    I have to say that since she's been taking all her meds (diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and dementia + a couple that I'm not sure of) she has been much more with it. She has even thanked me for all I'm doing for her which is such an improvement on the angry/sad reactions.

    I just need to persuade her to let these 'young girls' in every morning as she doesn't see the point and just tell her that I'm sorting out the payments.

    Thanks again for all your comments, I'm sure I'll be here for the next trauma X
     

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