“I don’t need that medicine! There’s nothing wrong with me!”
If you’ve heard a senior loved one say this or any other sentiment to rationalize not taking the medication their doctor prescribed, you know how concerning and frustrating it is. There are numerous reasons a senior may resist adhering to doctors’ instructions, from denial to Alzheimer’s and everything in between. The reality, though, is that the health care provider advises that the medications be taken; so getting seniors to take medications that are prescribed is crucial.
So how can you overcome any hurdles to medication adherence? Our providers of dementia care in Alton, IL and the surrounding communities propose the following:
Speak with the Senior
If at all possible, try to find out precisely why the senior is determined not to take meds. They may be experiencing annoying side effects, such as an upset stomach, dizziness, alterations in how food tastes, exhaustion, etc. If the older adult is not able to articulate the main cause, keep a journal to note any alterations in behavior or attitude after medications are taken. Also look for nonverbal cues that could reveal the person is experiencing physical discomfort, such as changes in sleep patterns, grimacing, or holding a hand on the belly area.
Speak with the Physician
Arrange an appointment with the senior’s physician to tell them about the problem. See if there is room for adjustment in any of the prescribed medicines, especially in the event of unwanted side effects. It may be that certain treatments can be put on hold for the present time, while some are critical and life-saving. You may also ask the physician to talk with the older adult to reiterate the significance of taking medicines as prescribed. Sometimes hearing instructions directly from a respected professional will carry more weight than from a loved one of a senior who is reluctant to take medications.
Consider Different Formats
If pills are difficult to swallow, check if they may be crushed or broken in half. If a liquid medication has a bad taste, see if different flavors are available, or if it can be blended with food to help conceal the taste. There are often several techniques to modify how a medication is taken. The physician or pharmacist can provide tips.
Taking care of a senior loved one who will not comply with recommended medical advice can be extremely stressful. However, expressing your frustrations can worsen an already challenging situation and cause the senior to dig their heels in even further. It is important to take the time you need for self-care to make sure your stress levels stay in check so you will have the patience needed to keep a calm demeanor.
Let Morning Glory Home Care, a trusted provider of home care and dementia care in Alton, IL and the surrounding areas, help with medication reminder services from one of our skilled, trained, and experienced caregivers. We can help make sure doctors’ orders are followed, enabling you to step away from that particular role and simply enjoy spending time with your senior loved one. Our medication reminder services are just one small part of the many aging care services we offer, too. Call us at 618-667-8400 to learn more ways we can help improve life both for you and a senior you love!