“Grandma didn’t come with an instruction manual” 😶(although my aunt did pass along as much info as she could).
Except for, now she kinda does – if something happens to me or if I’m away we have a written schedule and Amazon Alexa.
I no longer hear “I never used to take so many” when giving grandma her 3rd or 4th round of pills each day. It took about 8 months to get to this point. This may sound like a small accomplishment and it is a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but it has been a huge journey to get to this point. My grandma has dementia and some days she is very good at remembering things, but taking care of her own health stuff is not one of those things.
Adjusting to her relocation 11 months ago to a new home that was 300+ miles away, my move-in with her and my parents to care for her, and then our larger family move into a new place all while learning about medications and health related stuff… took a bit of time. We are still looking at one more move before all of our things can come out of storage. One thing we have accomplished while in “purgatory” is creating a schedule.
Incorporating pills into our daily routine hasn’t been the only struggle. She also uses 3 different inhalers and is supposed to use a nebulizer 4 times per day. She hates water and if left alone, would only drink coffee all day (I’m the same, pretty sure I got that from her 🤭) but she’s under orders to DRINK MORE. She’s also very tiny and underweight, so she needs to EAT MORE. She loves to eat and usually doesn’t have any issues unless her tummy is upset, it’s just making sure that she has lots of snacks available throughout the day because lunch and supper just aren’t enough for her (she doesn’t like to eat breakfast so that’s why I left it out).
They don’t really give you a written schedule or checklist for all this stuff. They give you the meds, tell you what needs to happen (drink more, etc) and then expect you or your loved ones to figure it all out. I just thought having the inhalers for her to use as needed and the nebulizer handy for her to use would be enough – I didn’t know that yes, she needs to use them and that loud machine 4 times a day, every day. Oops 😬.
Thankfully we have a nurse that comes once a week to check health and set up meds and she’s the one who let me know that I was going about that wrong. So, course correct and time to redraw the schedule. Mapping it all out took some trial and error and it’s not medically exact but mission accomplished to what fits her needs and my capacity! We even have a fancy schedule posted. Just having a schedule isn’t enough though – what if I’m not watching the clock or am gone on errands?
I discovered the Reminders section in the Amazon Alexa App and OMG – this has changed our life! It helps in more ways than working to remind me that grandma needs something, I get to blame her if grandma is feeling snarky about using her inhalers… sorry grandma, Alexa says it’s time to use it 😇🤣. Honestly, it has really made things so much easier to manage – like getting in a good dose of drinks every day. Even if she doesn’t drink them all, I can say she is for sure drinking more than ever before.
If you have daily stuff you can’t or hate to remember, or just want help easing into a new habit – I highly recommend trying out the feature in Alexa or some such similar app, a dose of stress free reminders is exactly what we needed!