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I totally enjoy coaching. I find great pleasure in offering knowledge, suggestions, practical tips, and hope to my clients. I also enjoy listening to the stories my clients need to get off their chest, so to speak. Realizing we all have limits has recently become a consistent point of conversation.
I was asked, “What can I do to make sure Momma takes her medicine?” This question has been asked by two sets of clients in the last month. Well, I had several suggestions. Of course, it is great if you can be the one to administer the medication. Then you know Momma is being medicated timely and properly. Another suggestion is a medicine administration system that can be purchased which will beep when it is time to take medicine, and it will even call a loved one if the pills are not removed from a certain compartment within a preset time.
However, what to do when they refuse to swallow the medication is a problem. My only good suggestion is to crush the medication and place it in a favorite food – applesauce, yogurt, peanut butter, or a small amount of ice cream. Be careful of those few pills that should not be crushed, such as extended release medications. (Be sure to check with your pharmacist or doctor.) Outside of that suggestion, you sometimes have to realize we are all working within a set of limitations. If our loved ones do not want to take the medications, they will find ways to avoid doing so. They may place the medicine in their mouth, swallow a gulp of water, display an empty mouth, and have actually “pocketed” the pill in the back of their mouth. As soon as you look away, the pill is removed and thrown away. Even in the advanced stages of dementia, the brain can work in such a way to allow the individual to think through this process and successfully avoid swallowing the pill.
Limitations are a part of our lives. We can only do so much. We need to do everything we can to make life good for our loved ones, but we should not make life miserable for them and ourselves while we are forcing an idea or preset value system upon those with dementia. Relax. Smile. Accept life for what it is. Your tummy will feel better. Your head will hurt less, and your loved one will be happier.