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My mother-in-law has moderate dementia. Yesterday I discovered she had a drawer full of laxatives and has been taking 2 a day without us knowing about it. I knew she sometimes had accidents and frequently had sudden urges to hurry to the bathroom - however I didn't realize that she was taking the pills.

She is still able to clean herself up - she wears adult diapers all the time so either throws her clothes away or doesn't mess them up, I'm not sure. She has lots and lots of clothes so I wouldn't miss them.

I had my husband, her son, go in and gather up all the medications he could find - some were expired in the 1990's. She was very angry when she found out - angry at me mostly but she started hitting him and insisted that she had to have the laxatives. We gave them back to her but not any of the other stuff.

Did we do the right thing? I have had her to the emergency room when she overdosed on some of her prescription medication. At that time I thought I gathered up all her meds but missed those in her night stand I guess. Now I give her the prescription medication every day but wonder what I should do about the laxatives. I guess I should call her doctor shouldn't I.

I just really hate to make her mad at me but actually, I think she has already forgotten that she was mad yesterday.

Thanks for listening. Sander
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Hi, Sander.

Of course you did the right thing taking away expired meds. Most just lose their oomph, but others can become dangerous. Your MIL may think she needs the laxatives because some of her other meds and/or diet may make her irregular. The dr would probably recommend more fiber in her diet. Also she may be of the generation where castor oil was the cure of all ailments ... tastes awful, but cleans you out. If she shouldn't be on a laxative, maybe the doctor could suggest a safe placebo, like a tic-tac.

My aunt's husband lived into his 90's. When he died, my cousins and I had the task of going through his things. We found dozens of tubes of hemorrhoid ointment and tissues in all his clothing pockets. Who knew?

Good luck with your MIL. Please let us know how it goes.

laxitives are adictive.After using them for along time, the body will have to adjust. My mother got very blocked up when I took hers away. But the dr was worried about it keeping her going to much.

I always kept moms pills and now hubbys pills put up.I use a daily pill tray and only give him the boxes for the day.That way I do not have to worry if he forgets and double doses.I can also stay on top of when he is close to being out.

Just my two cents.
Dawn, thank you so much for responding to my concerns about my mother-in-law's use of laxatives. I believe she is addicted to them. She frequently has to hurry to the bathroom and has had accidents. She is also very thin. I am sure they are not good for her. I guess the decision is, do I want to fight with her over them and deal with the the consequences of withdrawel from them. I wonder how big a deal that is. I do not have any help with her and it scares me somewhat to think of dealing with the problems involved. Right now I am taking the lazy way out and just letting her take them. I wonder what my moral obligations are. She is 85 years old, seems to be in good physical health, diabetic but I help her keep it under control. She is losing her memory fairly rapidly at this point and doesn't seem to have any interest in life. Is it good to force her to go through the withdrawels or would it be kinder to just ignore the situation. I really don't know.

Again, thanks for your response. Sander G.
That's an idea I might try. I guess I will call her Doctor tomorrow and see what she suggests. Thanks for your help. I really appreciate all the support and help from this web page. It has made a big difference in my attitude knowing I am not the only one dealing with these issues. Thank you all, and thanks again Smiler

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