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Posted by Nancy on October 25, 2000 at 01:51:39:

In Reply to: Re: Need advice; mom keeps forgetting to take her meds posted by Carole on October 24, 2000 at 01:06:03:

: : : :
: : : : : : Hello,

: : : : : : I am new to this board, and am so glad I found it! My mother, who is now almost 70, was diagnosed with Parkinson's many years ago. She is at the point, now, where she has a lot of trouble getting up from a seated position, and always requires assistance when walking. She cries with frustration many times per day, because her body won't do what she wants it to do.

: : : : : : My dad, who is 75 and fortunately, due to modern medication, is in very good health, loves my mother very much and takes very good care of my mother. He is not yet comfortable with the computer, so I am writing this on his behalf (though he is unaware of this!).

: : : : : : Here is the problem: Mom keeps forgetting to take her meds on time and on a regular basis. Also, a few weeks ago, she somehow cracked her pelvis, and is now, and hopefully temporarily, confined to a wheelchair. It is very hard for my dad to get her around. So things are even worse now. Dad made Mom a med schedule indicating which pills are to be taken when, but Mom just won't use it. Because she is almost always late taking her pills, it seems she spends most of her time in an "off" mode. It is so rare that I see her in an "on" mode.

: : : : : : My dad is really frustrated that mom won't take her meds when she is supposed to. Mom doesn't like forgetting her pills, but regardless, never seems to try to remember. And she ignores the schedule that Dad made for her.

: : : : : : Please pardon my ignorance, but is this common with Parkinson's? Is there something my dad or I could say or do that would help mom with this problem? Could it be that her pills don't help her much, so she sees no point in taking them?

: : : : : : One of the pills she takes is Zoloft, an antidepressant. I also take antidepressants, and have taken Zoloft before. I was surprised that she was on only 50mg per day. When I took Zoloft, I think I was taking 150mg per day. Is 50mg. a normal dosage? I asked her about it -- she never questions her doctor, just does what he says. I know that the Zoloft is not helping her.

: : : : : : In all the time Mom has had Parkinson's, it seems she has not wanted to help herself. Is this normal?

: : : : : : I hope you can help... I do not know anyone (other than mom) with Parkinson's, so don't know what is typical for this disease. But I really want to help my parents cope. Now that I have found this board, I'm hoping I might be able to learn more about Parkinson's and maybe help out my parents.

: : : : : : Thank you so much!

: : : : : : Nancy

: : : : : Nancy, welcome to the board. You will get many responses to your questio and most Parkinson's patients are unique in that are symptoms vary a lot from patient. I have had pd for about nine years and I will admit I really have to concentrate and keep reminding myself to remember when to take the drugs. You might be right about the dose of Zoloft being to low, because it's possible your mother is depressed and not taking the pills might be one indication. In my own experience, using a timer or writting down the schedule to help your mother remember probably won't work, because I didn't stick with it. I can't say for certain,but it looks like your mother is missing a lot her doses or the drugs tend to wear off if she has taken them for many years. Talk to your doctor about your mother's symptoms and maybe he can give her a higher dose of Zoloft. This might be difficult for you and your Dad, but sooner or later someone will have to take charge of dispensing the pills. It is a shame that your mother has so much off time, because their are a lot of Parkinson drugs that would increase her on time and your mother would feel so much better. I take five different pd drugs and if I didn't I wouldn;t be able to get out of bed. Have you ever tried to take your mother to a support group meeting? Your mother would be able talk to others like you will hear from on this board. Also, that might improve any deppression. I have yet to meet any other person with Parkinson;s that would not be willing to share their experiences. We are all in this together and their are a lot of nice, informed people who visit this board. Don't hesitate to post more questions, because we will always be here for you. Bruce

: : : : Dear Nancy, Everything Bruce says is right. There are a lot of caring people on this msg board and you will glean a lot of valuable information. Parkinson's is a very frustrating disease not only for the person afflicted but the care givers also. I too, sometimes forget to take my medicatons and when I start feeling bad I know why. I have very supportive friends and family and many of them will remind me if I have forgotten the meds when I am in their company. Thankfully, I haven't suffered from any depression, my husband does so I know how important the proper dosage is. Some Pders are embarrassed about having this disorder, but if you can get your Mom or Dad to share her problems, it will be so much easier for her. My heart goes out to all three of you. We will be thinking of you and praying for improvement of your situation. One more thing, Is the doctor you are using associated with a movement disorder center? If not I highly recommend getting an opinion from one.

: : : Hi, Sylvia - you've taken a good step to help your Mom by contacting this board. We stand by ready to help. I would strongly suggest that you find out if there is a PD support group where you live. Ours is quite successful, and this month, for the first time, we split the group for 1/2 hour -- the care givers in one group, the PD'ers in the other, then we re-convened. It went VERY well, and we'll continue like that every month. We have guest speakers -- a PhD who talked about surgical options, and next month a speech therapist, who will address those issues. There are many good books and videos available for rental -- check out the Nat'l Parkinson's website and others. Hang in there, just tell us what else we can do to help. Lory

: : ;Nancy, I am caretaker for my 7l yr.old husband who has had PD(diagnosed)7 years. Took a long time to get that diagnosis and many neuroligists!
: : He suffers from Dementia, also. I was wondering if your mom's Dr.ruled this out. My husband would never take a pill unless I gave it to him.
: : He gets up feeling badly, and needing his meds., but doesn't reason things out that his med would help. He is alert, ambulatory, does hallucinate,
: : daily (We gave a group of people here daily..not so)He was on Zoloft for a while, but it didn't seem to help much, if any. He is on Serzone now, but it hasn't helped the confusion.
: : I was just wondering if this might be a factor in your mom's forgetting to take her meds.
: : I wish you and your dad much luck in all the frustrations that comes with this situation.
: : Betty D.

: +++++++++++
: Hi Nancy-
: You have received many wonderful tips, just like Bruce said you would. There are so many wonderful people here on both sides of the fence.
: My mother suffered a broken hand and hip fracture and would have perished if not for the lift chair (electric up and down chair.) Medicare will cover the cost if prescribed by her doctor. Bruce has U-Step Walker (check previous posts) that might help.
: I used a pill timer for years because I get busy and let myself get tight as a rubberband or shaking like a leaf before I think "Oh yeah, I was going to take that medicine two hours ago!" I'd always forget my timer, too, and the most embarassing moment for it to go off (besides in the movies) was in a concert hall - talk about accoustics!! Talk about finding a beeping noisy timer in the dark in a purse and trying to turn it off quickly with a bazillion eyes zoning into you!! It wasn't funny at the time........ :-) Oh, accoustics . . .
: Carole
: ++++++++++++++

THANK YOU all for the wonderful suggestions! I wish I could give each of you a hug...

This is a lot of good information. I phoned my parents today, as I wanted to share this info with my Dad. (I also wanted to remind Mom that today is my son's 9th birthday -- this is the FIRST time she has ever forgotten any of her grandchildren's birthdays.) Unfortunately, my dad was out running errands, so I could only talk with Mom. I gently reminded Mom of Ian's birthday, & asked her if she and Dad would call back when Dad returned. They did not call back. I am seriously wondering about the possibility of Dementia, as Betty mentioned. Mom has never forgotten things like this before.

I'll try reaching Dad again tomorrow. Yesterday I purchased "PC's for Dummies" and "The Internet for Dummies" for him (no, I do not think that my dad is a dummy! I'm a computer programmer & think these books are great!). I think it would help him greatly if he became more comfortable with the computer and the Internet, so he could consult this message board and have so much information and support at his fingertips. He might also see why my mom likes to be on the computer so much. For some reason, he seems to hate it when Mom is on the computer, so Mom usually awakens at about 3:30 a.m. and gets onto the computer while Dad is still sleeping. Obviously, there are more problems than the ones I have already mentioned...

I think I will also attempt to explain to Dad how important it is for mom to seek the support of others who really understand what life with PD is like. Thank goodness for the internet! It almost seems like a lifesaver for people who are unable to easily get around.

By the way, I saw the info posted regarding the book on Preventing Falls. My mom is so frightened of falling! I've ordered a copy for my dad and her.

Thanks again for your help and kind words. I will keep in touch.

Nancy

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