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How To Manage Medications For Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s
By: William G. Hammond, Attorney at Law
Author of The Alzheimer's Legal Survival Guide and The Alzheimer's Resource Kit"
First of all, remember that it is extremely important for your loved one to take his/her prescribed medications. Not doing so could cause both physical and mental problems and could lead to the emergency room. How best to manage medication will depend on how much medication she takes, how many times a day she takes it and her ability to manage it.
If your loved one is capable of taking her medication and just needs reminders, you can purchase some devices. One of them from ALR Technologies, www.alrt.com, is inexpensive and the size of your palm. It is called the Med Reminder. It uses a beeping sound and a visual signal as a reminder to take the medication at the prescribed time, day and night.
You will find instructions on how to operate this device on the above website.
If on the other hand, your loved one is in a stage where she cannot remember to take medication, then you, or someone else, for example a nurse or family member, will need to intervene and give it to her. In the mid to later stages of Alzheimer's, you need to observe her taking medication. You should also watch her when eating, as people with Alzheimer’s disease begin to have difficulty swallowing as the disease progresses. This is a real concern for those caring for them, as caregivers need to be constantly on alert to intervene if needed.
If your loved one is in a nursing home and you see that the medication is affecting her in a negative way, you may ask the nursing home to change the medication. You may need to make an appointment and let the administrator know that you observed some changes since your loved one started her medication. You can also ask to attend the next planning meeting for your loved one. By law, family members are to be informed and invited to the meetings. If the staff still doesn’t want to deal with this issue, you can call the long-term care ombudsman in your state. Ombudsmen are volunteers who have been trained to advocate for and on behalf of the residents of nursing homes. They will try to mediate between you and the facility.
And remember, you know your loved one best. So trust your feelings and work with the caregivers when managing medication for your Alzheimer's patient.
Copyright, 2000-2004 The Alzheimer's Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved.
My good friend and Elder Law Attorney William Hammond founded The Elder & Disability Law Firm in 1996, as he puts it, "out of necessity." Hammond's mother-in-law fell and broke her hip the previous year and Bill and his wife Mary became her primary caregivers. The law firm grew out of his frustration in trying to track down the answers to legal questions that he was now facing on a daily basis. Bill decided that the answers to the questions he and his wife were facing needed to be more available to the public and so the firm was founded.
Today The Elder & Disability Law Firm serves clients all over the states of Kansas and Missouri. It's not unusual to have people drive in from several hours away to meet with the staff and attorneys of the firm and to get help with their most pressing elder law issues.
Almost from the first day that the firm opened its doors, the families who have a loved one with Alzheimer's have been flocking to the firm. Over and over again issues of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's have been raised. Over the years the attorneys and staff at the law firm have developed a real expertise in helping people suffering from memory loss. That in turn lead to the establishment of the Alzheimer's Resource Center.
The Alzheimer's Resource Center is dedicated to helping families throughout the U.S. understand better how to care for and plan for their loved one who has Alzheimer's Disease. The Resource Center is dedicated to helping families learn more about the disease and, more importantly, learn specific strategies that the families can use to reduce caregiver and Alzheimer's patient stress and keep the loved one at home as long as possible.
To this end the firm offers its Alzheimer's Survival Kit "the standard of information for the industry" as well as frequent Telecoaching Seminars teaching families the "hands-on" skills they need to learn to better care for their loved one.