My mom has difficulty knowing what to do with pills that she needs to ingest. I pour a glass of water and put her supplements in a small glass dish. I use the same dish and the same glass every day to keep it familiar for her.
"OK Ma, take a drink of water. Go ahead. Sip it." I'll coach her.
"OK." She replies as she sits and holds the glass, looking at it as though to say, "How do I work it?" My mom looks at the glass of water like it's some huge puzzle to solve, she has no idea what I am asking her to do.
I repeat, slowly. "Go ahead, it's ok. Take a drink of the water, do it like this." I say to her as I put a glass of water to my lips and take a sip. My mom eventually mimics my action and sips the water.
"Great!" I offer a bit of positive feedback, hoping that it helps her get through the 10 supplements that need to be swallowed before she can start her day.
"Now take this pill and swallow it like a bullet. Go ahead, you can do it." I encourage my mom.
She will look at the pill like she looked at the water. She has no idea what I am asking her to do. I take a pill and show her how to do it. Visual aides seem to help.
It takes nearly an hour for her to swallow all of her supplements in the morning and before bedtime. It's distressing to witness. My anxiety makes it harder for her because my tension seems to trigger elevated blood pressure in my mom. I need to remain calm... this is difficult and requires a conscious effort on my part.
I have noticed that when her blood pressure is high, she can't remember what to do and it takes lots of water to get down just a few pills. The other night her blood pressure was 131/62. She swallowed all pills with no memory issues related to how to do a task that once was second nature to her.
I am in a quandary over my mom's pill swallowing issues. Keeping her blood pressure down seems to be a key to her success with taking supplements that allow her to have more good days. It's difficult when she can't ingest the supplements that work very well to keep her blood pressure in a very good range.