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How do I deal with family who want to take Grandparents OFF of their medications?

Please Help! I need advice...

My Aunt and Mother want to take my Grandparents OFF of their Rx meds because of "vague" reasons (including "it's probably hurting their kidneys" and "they don't feel pain anymore"). Currently I am my grandparents' primary caregiver and I think this is an awful idea.

My grandparents are in good health for their 94 & 96 years respectively. My grandfather takes 2 vitamin supplements and Rx meds for gout & high blood pressure & acid reflux. While my grandmother takes 2 vitamin supplements and Rx meds for osteoarthritis (meloxicam, a mild anti-inflammatory, non-steroid pain medication) & thyroid meds + meds to counteract the thyroid meds.

They want to take them off the supplements (iron & metamucil) altogether. As well as the meloxicam for my grandmother and the Rx acid reflux drug for my grandfather. My main gripe: is that they want to take my grandmother off of the meloxicam for her arthritis. I think it is ridiculous that my Aunt and Mother want my grandfather to continue to take his meds for gout, because it is more obvious when he is in pain, while my grandmother's severe dementia limits her ability to communicate whether she is in pain and she just seems more cantankerous when she is in pain.

They say that she doesn't "feel the pain" anymore, but they don't even want to ask the doctor who prescribed the supplements and Rx meds to my grandparents first BEFORE taking them off these medications, vitamins, and supplements. It would be one thing if their prescribing doctor thought it would be okay but my Aunt and Mother "believe" that the doctor is just trying to make money off of my grandparents (the medications are relatively inexpensive $5-$10 each, but they have to go to the doctor every three months to get their Rx meds refilled).

How do I communicate, without sarcasm and without getting angry, because yes I AM UPSET about this; that we are a Care TEAM and that as a TEAM we need to first ASK my grandparents and their doctor BEFORE taking them off the meds they have been taking for DECADES...

Upset and Disappointed in Seattle,
thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
Status: Open    Nov 12, 2015 - 07:59 AM

Dementia, Senior Health & Nutrition

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Expert Answers

Nov 19, 2015 - 01:41 PM

Lots of people with dementia have pain and are unable to communicate that to their caregivers. It may exhibit as agitation, aggression, increased confusion, or isolating themselves and sleeping more. Since you have already noticed that she "seems more cantankerous", the behavioral issues will probably increase if her meds are withdrawn. Please seek out medical opinion before changing any medications.

Voted Best Answer

Nov 19, 2015 - 01:41 PM

Lots of people with dementia have pain and are unable to communicate that to their caregivers. It may exhibit as agitation, aggression, increased confusion, or isolating themselves and sleeping more. Since you have already noticed that she "seems more cantankerous", the behavioral issues will probably increase if her meds are withdrawn. Please seek out medical opinion before changing any medications.

Answers

Nov 15, 2015 - 08:11 AM

I think it depends entirely on the situation. Many elderly homes want to keep the patients drugged up so they aren't as "much trouble". In many, if not most of the cases, I'd like to think there are alternatives solutions that would be better. If it's supplements (vit C, iron, etc.), that they are used to taking and it makes them feel better, why not let them continue with them? In both cases, consider the psychological and emotional needs as well as the physical.

Nov 15, 2015 - 01:01 PM

Jizu, Thank you for being your grandparents' main caregiver. I don't blame you for being upset and disappointed. In my opinion it is cruel to remove your grandmother from the meloxicam; she most certainly DOES feel pain, even if she can't say so. Likewise your grandfather's acid reflux med is important for his comfort. It is unusual for prescriptions to be written for only three months - generally they are written for a year, so you might ask their doctor to write them for a year as it is causing distress for your mom and aunt for them to have to go to the doctor so frequently to get the RX orders.

Are you an adult, Jizu? Who has legal control over you grandparents' finances? If your mom or aunt has legal power of attorney (POA) you may be helpless to go against them, but if you are an adult you could contact the doctor and let him/her know what is going on. Most states have some form of Elderly Protective Services and if the withholding of the meds causes your grandparents harm or pain, the doctor might intervene or help you to intervene. My advice would be to call your grandparents' physician immediately and tell him/her what is happening.

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