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4 Ways to Convince Seniors to Take Medicine

By: Linda Kunicki

90 percent of older adults take at least one prescription medication each day. 80 percent take 2 and 36 percent take 5 or more medications on a regular basis. Medications are the most common way to treat diseases, so that’s not really surprising. Unfortunately, older adults are sometimes reluctant to take medicines. There are a lot of reasons for that. Some don’t trust doctors, don’t think they need the medicine, or have cognitive issues that make it difficult. If you’re struggling to get your aging relative to take medications, below are 4 ways to convince them.

#1: Schedule an Evaluation
Sometimes older adults don’t stick with the doctor’s prescribed treatment because they are depressed and see little hope in it. Or, they could have an undiagnosed cognitive problem that is causing them to forget or otherwise interfering with their ability to follow the medication schedule. It can help to have the senior evaluated by a doctor for a mental health or cognitive problem.

#2: Ask the Doctor to Explain the Importance
If your aging relative doesn’t believe they need the medicine or understand its purpose, having a doctor talk to them about what the medicine does and why it is important can make a difference. Try this step even if you have tried to talk to them in the past. Sometimes older adults respond better when the information comes from someone they perceive as an authority figure.

#3: Determine if There are Side Effects
The older adult may be experiencing side effects that make them not want to take the medicine. They senior might be having headaches, feel dizzy or nauseated, or it could be causing them diarrhea or constipation. Talk to your loved one to determine if the medications are causing them side effects. If so, talk to the doctor to see if there are alternative medications they can try.

#4: Change the Form or Flavor
The taste of the medicine might be the problem, especially if the older adult has cognitive problems. Or, perhaps the medication is hard for them to swallow and sticks in their throat. If that’s the case, ask the pharmacist if it’s available in another flavor or form. A coated capsule might be easier to swallow than a dry tablet. Or, you may be able to crush the medicine and mix it into applesauce to disguise the taste. Always check with the pharmacist before crushing medicines, though, since some of them should not be crushed.

Elder care providers can also help to get your aging relative to take their medications as prescribed. Elder care providers can offer reminders, so the senior doesn’t forget to take them. In addition, elder care providers may have some tips and tricks of their own because they are experienced in working with older adults and have likely dealt with stubborn seniors in the past.

Sources
https://dailycaring.com/convince-seniors-to-take-medication-6-tips/
https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/article/refusing-take-medications-tips-alzheimers-caregiver
https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/health/info-2018/parent-refusing-medication.html
https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/older-people%E2%80%99s-health-issues/aging-and-drugs/aging-and-drugs

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN RIVER FOREST, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY: 708-551-2500.