People with Alzheimer’s often develop trouble with swallowing as the disease progresses. Simply put, the brain no longer signals the throat to swallow. And what was once a natural instinct suddenly becomes an insurmountable obstacle.
The problem, of course, is that Alzheimer’s also generally robs the individual of his ability to communicate that there’s a problem. Which, of course, puts the onus on the caregiver. You’ve got to be aware – somehow – of when this is happening.
When it’s time for your Dad to take his medication, you need to watch carefully. But just as important, you need to watch when he eats. Does he keep chewing and chewing, but never swallow? Does he keep the food (or medication) in his cheeks for a long time?
If so, you’ve got to take some action.
Talk with your Dad’s doctor. Is it possible he’s taking a medication that he can possibly do without? The doctor probably wouldn’t have prescribed medicine if it wasn’t necessary…but it’s worth a try. If the doctor says he still needs it, can it be prescribed in liquid form? (And would your Dad even be willing to take it in liquid form, since liquid medicines are often bad-tasting?)
If the medicine comes only in pill-form, can the pills be crushed, and then put in pudding or yogurt or drinks? Or would they lose their effectiveness if crushed?
At some point, the doctor may advise that it’s no longer worth the struggle to get your Dad to take his medicine.
Are you a caregiver who feels overwhelmed by the 24/7 obligation, and the 24/7 questions? We can help. At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we have one of the largest Alzheimer’s/Dementia Resource Centers in South Florida.
Over the past 33 years, we’ve walked thousands of South Florida families through the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Journey. And we’ve helped protect their rights – both legal and financial – with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA.
We can walk your family through the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Journey, too. We’re just a phone call away.
How Will I Know When My Dad Can No Longer Swallow His Medication?