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CARENOTES | Past Carenotes | Let's Talk


Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 3/11/14


My husband is a stroke patient. Thankfully, he can still walk (with a slight limp), understand almost everything said to him, and is able to take care of his own personal needs. He’s having speech therapy and that is going fairly well. He is on several medications—about nine pills per day. He HATES taking any type of pill and always has. He becomes very angry when he has to take the meds, and becomes very angry anytime I don't understand what he's telling me. I feel that depression is a factor, but putting him on another med would probably make bad matters worse. We have been married 46 years and I love him more than ever, but the emotional stress is really getting me down. What can I do?


Caregivers Reply

Shared by: Lisa Malkin
Los Angeles

We started giving my grandma her pills with apple sauce instead of liquid to wash it down. It is so much easier!! She really prefers this!! (I think you could use yogurt too) OR if he takes most of his pills at one time during the day, mix most of them in the blender in a smoothie.

Shared by: Elaine
Saugerties, NY

Oh Linda - this is tough. If downing that amount of pills every day is daunting for him, I agree with Eileen's suggestion. You could also separate the capsules from the pills - swallow capsules whole and crush pills into a little applesauce or yogurt or pudding. Doesn't a spoonful of sugar help the medicine go down? ;)

Dysphagia can be uncomfortable for everyone involved - patience, patience, patience. The therapy takes time - here's a shortcut tip for now: can your husband read and write? Make up a list of common and descriptive words you use to communicate that he can point to when frustrated with the effort of speech. Toss in a few silly or profane ones too - the smiles may be just what you both need at that moment. Good luck to you both.

Shared by: Jessica A. Crowley
Lake Worth, FL

Linda, My suggestion would be to try to attend speech therapy with him. The therapist, many times, will be working on words and phrases that are still very difficult for him. If you are present, this will enable you to hear the pronunciation of these words and make mental notes on what it is he is saying. As far as the pills go, gently remind him that these pills are to help him recover. A reminder that you love him more than ever would definitely help as well. Men often feel a sense of guilt when their health starts to fail a bit. If he knows you are by his side, even when his health is not its best, it may trigger him to be more understanding at your caregiver situation.

Shared by: Eileen M. Mento
Chester County, PA

Try placing the pill in a small amount (one swallow) of his favorite jelly. The pill will slide down easily and taste good too. I've used this technique on clients and my own family.

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