“I don’t need that medicine! There’s nothing wrong with me!”
If you’ve heard an older relative say this or any other sentiment to make a case for refusing to take prescribed medication, you appreciate how frustrating and concerning it can be. There are numerous reasons a senior may resist adhering to doctors’ orders, from dementia to denial and everything in between. The bottom line, though, is that the physician suggests that the medications be taken; thus, it’s imperative that you make sure their instructions are followed.
Speak to the Senior
When possible, see if you can figure out the key reasons why the person is determined not to take medications. They could be suffering from unpleasant side effects, for instance dizziness, upset stomach, changes in how food tastes, weakness, etc. If the elderly individual 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 senior is suffering from physical discomfort, like sleeping more or less, grimacing, or holding a hand on the abdominal area.
Get in Touch with the Doctor
Arrange a consultation with the senior’s doctor to tell them about the issue. See if there is room for adjustment in any of the prescribed medications, especially in the event of undesirable side effects. It could be that certain medications can be put on hold for the moment, while some are critical and life-saving. You can even ask the doctor to talk with the person to reiterate the necessity 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.
Explore Alternate Formats
If pills are difficult to swallow, find out if they may be crushed or broken in two. If a liquid medication has a bad taste, see if different flavors are available, or if it may be blended with food to help cover up the taste. There are often multiple methods to alter how a medication is taken. The physician or pharmacist can provide recommendations.
Taking care of an older family member who refuses to comply with recommended medical advice can be quite stressful. However, expressing your annoyances can worsen an already challenging situation and cause the senior to dig their heels in even more. It’s important to prioritize the time you need for taking care of yourself to make sure your stress levels remain in check so you will have the patience you need to keep a calm demeanor.
Let Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a trusted provider of home care in Olathe, KS and the surrounding communities, assist with medication reminder services from one of our skilled, trained, and experienced senior care experts. We can help guarantee 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 senior care services we provide, too. Reach out to us at 913-440-4209 to find out more ways we can assist in improving life both for you and a senior you love!