“I’m healthy as a horse. I don’t need that medication.”
If you’ve heard a senior loved one proclaim this or any other sentiment to rationalize not taking the medication their doctor prescribed, you appreciate how concerning and frustrating it can be. There are many reasons someone may balk at adhering to doctors’ instructions, from dementia to denial and everything in between. The bottom line, though, is that the health care provider recommends that the medications be taken; so it’s crucial that you guarantee their orders are followed.
Speak to the Senior
When possible, see if you can establish the key reason why the senior is refusing to take meds. They may be suffering from annoying side effects, such as an upset stomach, dizziness, alterations in how food tastes, fatigue, etc. In the event that the elderly individual is unable to articulate the primary cause, keep a journal to make note of any changes in mood or attitude after medications are taken. Also look for nonverbal cues that could indicate the person is suffering from physical discomfort, such as changes in sleep patterns, grimacing, or holding a hand on the abdominal area.
Speak to the Physician
Schedule an appointment with the senior’s doctor to tell them about the situation. See if there’s room for modification in any of the prescribed medications, particularly in the event of negative side effects. It may be that certain medications can be placed on hold for now, while others are essential and life-saving. You can even ask the doctor to consult with the senior to reiterate the importance of taking medicines as prescribed. Often, hearing instructions directly from a trusted professional will carry more weight than from a member of the family for a senior who is reluctant to take medications.
Consider Different Formats
If pills are difficult to swallow, see if they can be crushed or broken in two. If a liquid medication has a bad taste, see if other flavors are available, or if perhaps it may be combined with food to help hide the taste. There are often multiple ways to customize how a medication is taken. The doctor or pharmacist can provide tips.
Taking care of a senior family member who does not want to comply with recommended medical advice can be quite stressful. However, expressing your irritations can worsen an already challenging situation and cause the senior to dig their heels in even more. It’s important to prioritize the time needed for taking care of yourself to make sure your stress levels stay in check so you’ll have the patience to keep a calm demeanor.
Let Inspired Home Care, a provider of home and dementia care in Barrington, IL, help with medication reminder services from one of our skilled, trained, and experienced caregivers. We can help guarantee doctors’ orders are followed, so you can step away from that particular role and simply take pleasure in spending time with your senior loved one. Our medication reminder services are just one small part of the many home care services we provide, too. Call us at 847-787-7572 to learn more ways we can help to improve life for both you and a senior you love! For a full list of all of the communities where we provide our award-winning home care services, please visit our Locations Served page.