What are thoughts on medication use?

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It depends what they are for, but medications exist for a reason. I assume you’re talking about antipsychotics, and I do think they have a place in dementia care. They’re there for a reason, but need to be used as a last-ditch effort for people who are absolutely so anxious or chase-you-down-combative. These meds are often contraindicated for dementia and older adults, so they should be used sparingly and very carefully, especially at first. The people who say, “Never use antipsychotics on people with dementia!” have never worked in dementia care. Some people are so unhappily anxious and/or cruel/combative because of the way their brain is changing…and they need the help of meds.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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