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How to Get a Senior Loved One to Take Medication

By Cherie Coe, 9:00 am on

Whether it’s putting up a fuss when it comes time to take another pill or skipping doses, seniors and their part-time or live-in caregivers sometimes need help managing daily medications. What’s referred to as non-adherence (failure to take medications on time or as directed) can result in increased symptoms and side effects associated with the condition the medications are supposed to be treating. Consider the following tips to help your loved one take his or her meds as directed.

Start a Productive Dialog

Fight the temptation to reverse roles and insist that your loved one take medications “for his or her own good,” which often sets up a possible confrontation. Instead, set aside time to talk about why he or she doesn’t like taking the medicine. Realize that some of the reasons they give may be valid and correctable. Take time to thoroughly discuss the thinking behind the following possible reasons why your senior loved one may not want to take medications:

  • Having friends who took the same medication with adverse reactions
  • Not liking the way certain medications make him or her feel
  • Claiming to feel just fine (and seeing no reason to continue with medications)

Cut Back on Some Medications

Your senior loved one may get understandably annoyed with having to take too many medications throughout the day. Schedule an appointment with the doctor to determine if some of these medications can be eliminated, reduced, or replaced with a medicine that treats multiple symptoms. You also inquire about alternative and holistic treatment options.

Schedule an Evaluation for Other Conditions

If your senior loved one only recently began forgetting to take medicine or being difficult about taking their medication, he or she may have an undiagnosed condition behind the problem. Some forms of dementia, for instance, can diminish cognitive functioning or result in mood shifts that can make medication time difficult for in-home caregivers.

Associate Taking Medications with Meal Time

Associate meal times throughout the day with taking medications to help your loved one remember when to take medicine. Since some pills need be taken with food anyway, there are other benefits to linking meds at mealtime, which also tends to be a more relaxing time for seniors. Meds that can’t be taken with food often go down better when placed on the back of the tongue and taken with water (to counter complaints that some medications taste bad).

Managing your senior loved one’s care needs can be difficult when you’re doing it alone, but you don’t have to. Reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care in Jefferson County, CO, at (303) 987-5992 and discover the resources both you and your senior loved one can benefit from. Our compassionate and experienced caregivers can help with everything from medication reminders and prescription pick up to grocery shopping and light housekeeping. Give us a call today. We look forward to hearing from you.