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Mother insists she is not getting her pills in assisted living

My dad passed end of December and we had to place mother in assisted living. We knew she had memory issues, but just not how bad until dad was gone. She is in a good place, but keeps insisting that she isn't given her pills. They give her pills, and 10 minutes later she come out in the hall and ask them why they are not going to give her pills? They even gave her a little book, had her write down the day and time and pill, but she still thinks she isn't getting her meds. She will start calling and leaving messages to my brother, his wife or myself.. one record day we had a total of 47 calls! We don't answer the calls, maybe a few and just tell her OK, we will call them and tell them to give your pills. I wonder if we gave her a fake pill bottle and put Tick Tacs in it just so she thinks she has some control?? My dad was blind and she was in charge of giving out his pills for many years, so maybe this is why the pill fixation.. Also, when she is around other folks she is a nice and sweet as can be, but with us, boy she can give us heck.. like 2 different people.. is this common?
Status: Open    May 23, 2016 - 07:40 AM

Dementia, Caregiving

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May 27, 2016 - 10:25 AM

I have a few ideas of what might be going on here. With your Dad gone, is she feeling lonely, and could this be a way of-and I hate to use this phrase-getting attention? This may be her way of trying to interact with your family, despite the fact it is getting negative attention? Even though it's negative, it's attention nonetheless?

Another thought I have is maybe she had a change in medication by her doctor, or the pharmacy started carrying a different manufacture for one or several of her meds. So maybe she is used to seeing the "purple" or "blue" tablet/capsule, but now the tablet/capsule is white, and she sees this as not getting all her meds.

My last thought- is her memory getting progressively worse that she needs to see her doctor/neurologist/geriatrician to have it evaluated. Common behavioral symptoms with dementia include aggression/agitation, delusions, and hallucinations. A small percentage of dementia patients experience obsessive -compulsive behavior.

My overall advice would be to take her to a doctor who can assess her dementia. Additionally, there are medications that many senior that will aggrevate dementia behavior, which can be identified through a Comprehensive Medication Review. I have more information about these reviews if you click on my website in my profile. It is extremely possible this whole issue may be a sign that something is wrong.


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By tedm on Jun 05, 2016 - 12:05 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

I think she is just lonely. A dementia assessment is likely to just confirm what you already know - not saying you shouldn't have it, but don't expect magic. My M.I.L. is very creative when it comes to negative attention-getting behaviors. If you do the tic-tac thing then she will probably just find something else to complain about and I don't think it's a good idea to mix candy and medicine in any case. Trust me there are a lot worse things she could do than what she is doing. I think you should just answer maybe a total of 3 of the calls a day, and let the rest go to your answering machine. The calling will taper off eventually.

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