My husband overall has been ok. He has Alzheimer’s and some moments are pretty good, other moments not good at all. I figured that’s just the nature of the disease.

Today I found 2 of his Mematine (sp?) pills under the small cloth he uses to clean his glasses in the bathroom. Last week, I found 1 pill on the living room floor. I thought it odd, last wk, however I just brushed it off. Now today I find two more pills. The pills were partially dissolved, so it looks like he has put them in his mouth, not swallowed them and took them out and hid them.

If he puts them in his mouth, I guess I will have to stay watching him for long enough to know the meds either dissolved in his mouth fully or he has swallowed them.

This is concerning obviously, and vexing! He gets so confused about the simplest of things, yet he is capable of this trickery!

I realize that the time may come where I ground up all his meds and put them in his food, but I don’t feel I’m quite there yet.

Anyone else have this issue and what did you do about it?

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Regarding the 'bitter taste';
Bitter taste = spit it out. Makes perfect sense!

The advise regarding being aware of sensory feelings is very insightful.

As the link between the feel & the task at hand diminishes, as short term memory fades too, being able to accept our LO is in the here & now will be so valuable.

Eg skin feels cold.
Not able to get this is a very temporary part of changing clothes.
Or skin feels wet.
Not able to make the link between skin being temporarily wet when showering in order to get clean.

Being able to respond to the immediate *feel* could help so much.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Beatty

Just tuned in & saw the update too 😃

A very basic guide is the progression from independent, to supervision, to assistance to full assist/taking over a task.

It can be so hard to judge what level is required, especially as skills can fluctuate from day to day. Mood too.
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Reply to Beatty

Donttestme: I did see your update of seven hours ago. I was going to suggest if some of his medications could be made into liquid form, but it looks like you have a handle on the situation.
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Reply to Llamalover47

Donttestme, the nurses had to hide my Mom's pills in chocolate ice cream.

What was interesting, after Mom no longer needed said pills, whenever we served her chocolate ice cream without the pills she said it didn't taste good. Guess that pill had added something special to the taste :P
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Reply to freqflyer


I wasn’t sure exactly how to post an “update”, so here it’s goes.

In my caregiver support grp today I learned that there are 5 common “hyper” sensitive areas that can be experienced by dementia patients. The top of the head, the palms of hands, bottoms of feet, genital area and the mouth.

As some of the answers I got here also explained my husband may be getting the pills stuck in between his gum and cheek and then getting a bad taste and as anyone would, removing what tastes bad. Where it’s gets “placed” doesn’t really need to make a lot of sense. As long as it’s out. Now true, some people may be deliberately hiding meds. However sometimes it’s just an innocent thing.

I will be watching him take his meds, and making sure he has plenty of water and only takes one pill at a time. I’ll follow up a few minutes later asking if he tastes anything bad, like a pill being stuck. And as I said, just watching him closely.

It may come to putting meds in applesauce, but hearing the explanation of overly sensitive mouth, meds getting stuck in gum area really makes sense.

And yes, his need for control may come into play too. I will “ask” him to takes his meds - very good response from someone here- to tell him he needs to stay healthy to take care of me! Brilliant!

Thank goodness for support groups and forums like this one! My default is usually anger. This disease is giving me a crash course in human compassion. I love my husband more than anything, but I need to learn more patience, empathy and compassion. I actually didn’t realize was horrible short in those areas. I am learning, slowly but surely. I want to get better at caretaking for my husband. He deserves love and patience.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Donttestme
97yroldmom Dec 7, 2022
You did perfect on responding back to the original post. We learn so much this way. If you had started a separate post we might not have been able to connect as easily the problem and the solutions you have found helpful.
You sound like an amazing spouse who happens to be a caregiver as well. As caregivers get burned out they often become brittle and the opposite of patient, empathetic and compassionate.
You are inspiring and how I want to be when I grow up. 🤗
Thanks for the update.
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I always ask if she will take them. I inform my mom every time what every pill is. I mean 90% of the time she recognizes them but that 10% is what I ask for. I also let her decide if she's done with neb treatments or not.

If she wants to stop taking something we just discuss it. She was actually annoyed I took her off of her BP meds till I reminded her that she doesn't like having feet that are balloons. So I check BP daily instead. Some random times it is pretty high and we use the "small" med she was on then, as needed. Hospice nurse and I had a lot of talks about as needed etc, her choice for different things, and figuring out what or who is talking when she is in certain states and making certain decisions.

My mom decided to stop all the allergy pills they had her on (I convinced her to keep the asthma allergy med but no issues getting rid of the rest they really weren't helping, her nose prob runs LESS now, not more).

She also stopped the new anti-osteoporosis med the PCP put her on. She'd already been on the "only stay on this a few years" med, and this new one, she dismissed when hospice started with "I am not going to outlive osteoporosis anyway so." :D

Non-compliance always reminds me of Dostoevsky';s "most advantageous disadvantage". If you want to read what is probably the greatest dedication written to anyone who is powered by spite, Notes from Underground is the piece and I love it. ;) The most advantageous disadvantage is written about there. Basically boils down to - human free will means we will make a choice knowing it is wrong because we can and for some reason we just *must*, even if it is to only prove to ourselves that we have free will at all.

We're funny little machines.
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Reply to Caldinea

Try putting them in a spoonful of applesauce
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Reply to Alihart

I feel your pain.

I was caring for my FIL the last 6+ months of his llife. He was alowly, but actively dying and whenever his '10pm temperature' was over 101.0 he had to go to the ER (he had leukemia plus severe lung damage due to 42 of being a firefighter) Pneumonia could set in severely in 12 hrs.

Well, we'd wait patiently every night for that 10:15 call that said "My fever is one hundred and one" and off we'd trek for ER. Without doubt, he's get there and his temp would be 99 or maybe 99.5--still not the scary 101. One night as I (again) sat in the ER, I asked him HOW he was reading his thermometer and found out, since it was digital, he was reading 100.1 as '101'. I wanted to weep.

Every ER visit resulted in a new cough syrup scrip, Diflucan and an antibiotic. He would faithfully fill these. And then when I would go to give them to him, he'd plalm them and drop them by the side of the recliner.

His last trip to the hospital, and I went to his condo to clean. I moved the recliner and there were hundreds of pills. He had no problem hauling me out in all kinds of weather for an ER run, but would NOT take the meds. Yes, they gave him blowout diarrhea, and my heart and nose felt for that--so it limited where he could go, comfortably, and his solution was to not take the pills at all.

After he died, and I did that final cleaning, I did kind of have a laugh at the fact that he'd "won".

My Dh cannot see the tiny pills he takes. He tosses them back with a drink and I ALWAYS find them in the bed and on the floor. As long as he's taking his Lipitor and his anti-rejection meds I don't say a word. Those 2 are the most important.

It's not a battle I want to engage it, so I don't. He is becoming more like his dad every day. Dad didn't have dementia. He was just stubborn.
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Reply to Midkid58

Sorry - no solution to offer. Just here to share your frustration. I picked up a framed photo on top of her china cabinet and found a row of pills behind it. In an envelope addressed to mail to herself for me to mail. Dropped into cups, mugs and bowls in her kitchen cupboards. In her most combative phase, she yelled that, if the doctor actually wanted her to take them, he’d better come to the house and hand them to her himself.

Sometimes, after hiding them, she’d declare them stolen, certain she’d never actually swallowed them, having found the pill holder empty.

Yes, dementia is a lot of forgetting the “how” but much of it is losing the insight into the “why”.
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Reply to Anabanana

My Mom sometimes refuses or spits out meds and I think it is a control thing. I now ask her if she wants to take her pills with applesauce or yogurt. She makes the choice which helps. Sometimes she still doesn’t want them so I ask her if she will take care of me when I get old. She says of course, so I say then you have to stay healthy so please take your pills. Sometimes I tell her that I took out some pills and am only giving the most important ones (not true). I feed them to her with the applesauce or yogurt and have a drink ready once she has swallowed them all. Good luck. I hope something I’ve shared helps.
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Reply to Sweetstuff

As mom's dementia advanced, she became insistent she did not need ALL THOSE PILLS which she felt were "making her sick". You can't reason with a person suffering from Alzheimer's, so don't try. Just make sure you stand there to witness dh swallowing his meds and don't be surprised if the day comes when he flat out refuses. You'll then have to check with the doctor to see which pills can be safely ground up and added to his food, as not all can.

Just because there are certain things dh is still quite lucid and reasonable about, there will be things he's not at ALL reasonable or lucid about, and there's no rhyme or reason to what it will be, either. They get a thought or idea stuck in their head and you can't chop it out of there with an axe.....its there to STAY. 😑
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to lealonnie1

My mom did this. I found pills in her bed sheets, pills in her pockets and she was very good at “acting” like she was swallowing when in fact she was hiding it in her gum. She would pull it out when I turned my back.

I believe it was a couple of things. First, having control over something….as she declined, she could control very little. Second, she became suspicious of the pills. She did not understand their purpose.

She was in an ALF and as she declined she went from taking the meds easily from me or the nurses to simply refusing and throwing a temper tantrum. We did use pudding, applesauce and her favorite drink, Ensure Clear mixed fruit. She liked the taste and was more open to taking pills when she knew she would have the juice.

She passed away in early November. Now I see the behavior as part of her decline. She went from being passive to agitated easily. From bathing easily to refusing.

It could be the need to control, or it could be a step change in his condition. I worried that inconsistent medicine taking would impact other health issues like blood pressure, thyroid and potassium which can add to confusion.

Perhaps start with his favorite beverage.

I wish you the best! Hugs!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Msblcb

He could be having trouble swallowing them and spits them out when they've been in his mouth a while and become bitter or after he forgets what they are. You could try what they do in the nursing home, put the pills in a spoon of applesauce, pudding or jam and give them that way, followed with a drink.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to cwillie
Donttestme Nov 30, 2022
He has no trouble swallowing that I’ve ever seen. He has a good appetite and enjoys different foods, most veg, meats, fish, snacks food of course. He drinks water, coffee, tea etc. I’ve just never noticed any swallowing issues. We have eliminated carbonated beverages at advice of Dr, because he did have a couple bouts of hiccups at night. Limiting carbonated drinks has resolved that.

I think it may be more of a “control” thing on his part. All I can think to do is keep an eye on him for a while after he takes his meds.
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