Caregiving can feel like a crisis especially if you are caring for older adults who simply refuse to take their medications. However, there are ways for you to convince older adults to take medicine in an encouraging way to make your caregiving duty easier while helping them maintain their overall well-being.
Consider an Evaluation
Your elderly loved one may be suffering from an undiagnosed cognitive impairment of depression that affects their ability to keep up with the prescribed medication schedule. Seek the help of a healthcare professional for an evaluation.
Maintain an Up-to-Date Medication List
Include everything that your older loved one takes and not just drugs that are prescribed by a physician. Records down over-the-counter pills too like laxatives, aspirin, herbal supplements, vitamins, and others. There are many free digital tools that you can make use of to achieve this.
Determine the Necessary Medications
With an accurate and complete list, you can work with a physician to reduce it to the bare minimum. Ask the physician which medications are really necessary and whether they are suitable for the person whom you are caring for. Also, find out if certain medications can be administered less regularly without implicating their health. Cutting down the number of medications that your older loved one needs to take will reduce the pressure on you and them.
Centralize Pharmacy Records
If it is ideal, make use of only one pharmacy so that all the records that belong to your family members will be kept in one place. If your drugs are delivered through a mail-order plan, there are pharmacists on call with whom you can discuss the prescriptions.
Sit Down and Talk to Your Loved One
This may be hard but it is truly necessary. Sit down with your elderly loved ones and talk to them about your concerns. Ask them why are they refusing to take their medications if they still have the cognitive capacity to explain their situation. Here are some very common reasons:
- Medications are hard to swallow
- Medications make me feel uneasy
- Medications do not make me feel better
- Medications cause side effects
- Medications are expensive
The list can go on. You must first recognize that all these reasons may be valid. You must not regard this behavior as negative because as the patient, your older loved one may be sensing something in their body or mind that we do not get to experience. Depending on their reason, a physician may be able to offer help. You can speak to a physician and explain the reasons behind your loved one’s refusal to take their medications. The physician can recommend a new type of drug that is easier to swallow, will not make them feel uneasy, or even provide an avenue for you to seek financial assistance to fund the medications.
Always bear in mind that your older loved one is sick either physically or mentally and needs all the attention from you. Instead of blaming their behavior for their sickness, always settle for a compromise so you get to care for them in a much more conducive setting and your loved one can retire healthier.