“I’m not taking that! I don’t need any medicine!”
If you’ve heard a senior loved one proclaim this or any other sentiment to justify refusing to take prescribed medicine, you understand how frustrating and concerning it is. There are numerous reasons for refusal to take medications among seniors, from denial to Alzheimer’s and everything in between. The bottom line, though, is that the physician suggests that the medications be taken; thus, it’s crucial that you ensure their instructions are followed.
Talk to the Senior
When possible, see if you can establish the reason why the person is determined not to take meds. They could be suffering from annoying side effects, like dizziness, upset stomach, changes in how food tastes, fatigue, etc. If the senior is unable to articulate the main cause, keep a journal to note any alterations in disposition or attitude after medications are taken. Look also for nonverbal signs which could indicate the person is experiencing physical discomfort, including sleeping more or less, grimacing, or holding a hand over the abdominal area.
Speak with the Doctor
Arrange an appointment with the senior’s health care provider to tell them about the situation. Ask if there’s room for adjustment in any of the prescribed medications, particularly in the event of unwanted side effects. It may be that certain medicines can be put on hold for the present time, while others are critical and life-saving. You can also ask the doctor to consult with the person to reiterate the importance of taking medications as prescribed. Often 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.
Consider Different Formats
If pills are hard to swallow, find out if they may be crushed or broken in half. If a liquid medication has a bad taste, see if other flavors are available, or if it can be mixed with food to help mask the taste. There are often several methods to customize how a medication is taken. The doctor or pharmacist can provide suggestions.
Taking care of an older relative who does not want to adhere to recommended medical advice can be hugely stressful. However, expressing your irritations can aggravate an already challenging situation and make the older person dig their heels in even more. It’s important to take the time you need for self-care to ensure your stress levels stay in check so you’ll have the patience needed to keep a calm attitude.
Let Absolute Companion Care, a trusted provider of in-home care in Towson, MD and the nearby areas, help with medication reminder services from one of our experienced, skilled, and trained caregivers. We can help ensure doctors’ orders are followed, enabling you to step away from that particular role and simply enjoy spending time with your loved one. Our medication reminder services are only one small part of the many in-home care services we provide, too. Reach out to us at 410-357-9640 to learn more ways we can help to improve life for both you and a senior you love!