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Elderly addiction to pain medication

My grandmother is in her 70's.  She lives by herself, is overweight and is unable to walk without extreme pain.  She basically lives in her bed with occasional trips to the kitchen and bathroom.

She is on countless medications for pain, and when people are around her, she screams at the top of her lungs when using her walker.  She has a bad back and bad knees.

She has alienated herself from everyone she knows with the exception of the few people who listen to her complaints and provide her with what is essentially unpaid, in-house nursing care.  She has created this situation by telling people off or yelling at them.

Once every couple months she calls the paramedics due to immobility and stays in the hospital as long as possible.

She demands to remain in her house upon discharge, and her son ultimately obliges and she goes back home to repeat the process.

She is likely addicted to medications that exacerbate the pain, but will not admit that is the case.  She has completely mastered manipulating her situation to maximize the attention she gets and prevent anything from changing.  She is also very negative minded and claims to hate many, many things.

There are obvious complex social, physical and psychological components to this, and I’m not so much interested in dialoging on that right now.  Here is my question:  If we were able to get her admitted to a facility, would they be able to hook her up to an epidural drip for as long as it takes to wean her off her pain medications?  I imagine this would take a few weeks, but I then imagine that they could then stop the epidural and start from scratch with treatment options.

Otherwise I imagine this will continue until the situation kills her.  In the meantime it is creating incredible stress on her family, particularly the son who is in charge of her medical decisions.
5 Responses
352798 tn?1399301754
I can't comment on the epidural drip, but if her son has control over medical decisions. Perhaps He needs to sit down with the Dr on a consult and see what options can be done for her. Interviewing the facilities is another option.
Avatar universal
your grandma sounds miserable. i guess you all know how many pills she takes.
GTMI is right, discuss this with her dr.
it really saddens me that a 70 year old could be an addict. i'm sure she has no idea either. and bless your heart for wanting to help your grandmother. best of luck to you and your family.
401095 tn?1351395370
an epidural drip is rare..even in a hospital...most facilities are not equiped to detox someone unless it is a detox facilty...i feel ur dilemna as i see some strange situations alot...work with her doctor on this...if he does not prescribe as much to her then she wont have it...she would probably not resort to buying drugs off the street at her age...prayers are with u
Avatar universal
I was curious as to whether or not you could speak to her physician on getting her into a rehabilitation facility.  They wouldn't do a drip to wean her on pain meds, but they could work with her on weight loss (which if its a significant amt, I'm sure is contributing to her pain.)  Physical therapy would not only assist in weight, but strength, mobility and they also can do quite abit in the aspect of pain control.  They wouldn't withdrawl her, but can regulate, monitor, and get her on something more effective and appropriate for her health conditions not to mention the use of other techniques for pain relief (other than the meds).    Just wanted to toss that out there because her situation reminded of an older woman (just a little younger than her) that I cared for while I was working in a rehabilitation facility myself.  Best wishes to you and her.  I hope you're able to find what you need for her and your familty.
536882 tn?1225516459
Well question I have is....is she willing to accept the help?  As you stated she denies having a problem, so it's going to be difficult for her to embrace the idea of recovery if she doesn't realize she has a problem to address.  How does her substance abuse affect her life?  I know she is isolating herself, what would she be like if she didn't have the pain meds?  Is she going to be able to function w/o having pain control?  The drip is out of the question for getting her clean.  She has to recognize the problem, and be willing to at least try to change.  Talking w/her doctor is a good idea.  Be prepared to give specifics....how much she takes....if she falls asleep d/t being sedated and the stove is on, or she is putting her health or safety at risk, etc.  As 4afriend said, they could decrease the amount she is prescribed so she doesn't have access to as much.  Another thing to think about is getting help available for you and your family.  Alanon is a great resource to go to.  You will learn about how to take yourselves out of the equation but still be supportive of her other aspects of life.  This is a tough situation for you, and i commend you for reaching out for help.
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495284 tn?1333897642
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