“I’m not taking that! I don’t need any medicine!”
If you’ve heard an older family member declare this or any other sentiment to rationalize not taking the medication their doctor prescribed, you appreciate how frustrating and concerning it is. There are a number of reasons a loved one may avoid adhering to doctors’ orders, from denial to Alzheimer’s and everything in between. The reality, though, is that the doctor suggests that the medications be taken; so, it’s imperative that you make sure their instructions are followed.
Talk to the Senior
If at all possible, make an effort to find out the reason why the senior is determined not to take medications. They could be experiencing negative side effects, such as an upset stomach, dizziness, changes in how food tastes, weakness, etc. If the elderly individual is not able to articulate the root cause, keep a journal to note any changes in mood or behavior after medications are taken. Also look for nonverbal cues that may suggest the senior is suffering from physical discomfort, such as changes in sleep patterns, grimacing, or holding a hand on the abdominal area.
Get in Touch with the Physician
Arrange an appointment with the senior’s health care provider to tell them about the issue. During the appointment, determine if there is room for modification in any of the prescribed medications, especially in the event of undesirable side effects. It could be that certain medicines can be put on hold for the moment, while some are critical and life-saving. You can also ask the physician to talk with the person to emphasize the significance of taking medicines as prescribed. Sometimes hearing instructions directly from a trusted professional will carry more weight than from a family member of a senior who is reluctant to take medications.
Look into Alternate Formats
If pills are hard to swallow, see if they could be crushed or broken in two. If a liquid medication has a bad taste, see if other flavors are available, or if it can be combined with food to help cover up the taste. There are often multiple ways to modify how a medication is taken. The physician or pharmacist can offer recommendations.
Providing care for an older relative who will not adhere to 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 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 you need to keep a calm demeanor.
Let Home With You Senior Care, a leader in home care in Pikesville, MD and the surrounding communities, help with medication reminder services from one of our experienced, skilled, and trained caregivers. We can help make sure doctors’ orders are followed, so you can step away from that particular role and simply take pleasure in spending some time with your loved one. Our medication reminder services are just one small part of the many aging care services we offer, too. Reach out to us at 410-756-0959 to learn more ways we can help improve life both for you and a senior you love!