senior man overcome with medication

“I’m not taking that! I don’t need any medicine!”

If you’ve heard a senior family member proclaim this or any other sentiment to justify refusing medication their doctor prescribed, you appreciate how concerning or frustrating it can be. There are a number of reasons a loved one may resist adhering to doctors’ orders, from denial to Alzheimer’s and everything in between. The reality, though, is that the health care provider suggests that the medications be taken; thus, it’s necessary to make sure their orders are followed.

So how can you effectively address a senior who is refusing medication? Our caregivers in Topeka recommend the following:

Speak with the Senior

If possible, see if you can establish the reason why the person is determined not to take medications. They could be having uncomfortable effects, such as dizziness, upset stomach, changes in how food tastes, exhaustion, etc. In the event that the older adult struggles to articulate the main cause, keep a journal to note any changes in mood or attitude after medications are taken. Also look for nonverbal signs which could reveal the individual is suffering from physical discomfort, such as sleeping more or less, grimacing, or holding a hand over the abdominal area.

Speak with the Physician

Schedule an appointment with the senior’s doctor to inform them about the issue. Find out if there is room for adjustment in any of the prescribed medications, especially in the event of negative side effects. It may be that certain treatments can be placed on hold for the moment, while some are critical and life-saving. You can even ask the physician to talk with the senior to reiterate the necessity of taking medications 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 hard to swallow, find out if they can be crushed or broken in half. If a liquid medication has a bad flavor, see if other flavors are available, or if perhaps it can be mixed with food to help conceal the taste. There are often multiple ways to change how a medication is taken. The doctor or pharmacist can provide tips.

Stay Positive!

Taking care of a senior loved one who will not comply with recommended medical advice can be extremely stressful. However, expressing your annoyance can aggravate an already challenging situation and cause the senior to dig their heels in even more. It’s important to prioritize taking care of yourself to make certain your stress levels stay in check so you will have the patience needed to keep a calm attitude.

Let Grace Home Care’s caregivers in Topeka assist with medication reminder services from one of our experienced, skilled, and trained caregivers. We can help make sure doctors’ orders are followed, allowing you to step away from that particular role and simply enjoy spending time with your senior loved one. Our medication reminder services are only one small part of the many in-home care services we offer, too. Call us at 785-286-2273 to find out more ways we can assist in improving life for both you and a senior you love!