senior man overcome with medication

“I’m healthy as a horse. I don’t need that medication.”

If you’ve heard an older family member say this or other similar sentiments to rationalize not taking the medication their doctor prescribed, you know how frustrating and concerning it is. There are a number of reasons a senior may resist adhering to doctors’ instructions, from denial to Alzheimer’s and everything in between. The truth, though, is that the health care provider suggests that the medications be taken; thus, it’s necessary to guarantee their orders are followed.

So how can you combat senior medication refusal? Compassionate Nursing Services, a leading St. Louis home care agency offering services through the area, suggests the following:

Speak with the Senior

If possible, try to figure out the main reasons why the person is balking at taking medications. They may be experiencing uncomfortable side effects, such as an upset stomach, dizziness, changes in how food tastes, lethargy, etc. In the event that the older adult is unable to articulate the main cause, keep a journal to note any changes in mood or behavior after medications are taken. Also look for nonverbal signs that could indicate the individual is suffering from physical discomfort, such as changes in sleep patterns, grimacing, or holding a hand over the abdominal area.

Consult with the Physician

Arrange an appointment with the senior’s physician to let them know about the situation. During the appointment, determine if there’s room for modification in any of the prescribed medications, especially in the event of undesirable side effects. It could be that certain medicines can be put on hold for the time being, while others are critical and life-saving. You can also ask the doctor to talk with the older adult to emphasize the necessity of taking medications as prescribed. Often, hearing instructions directly from a trusted professional will carry more weight than from a member of the family for a senior who is reluctant to take medications.

Explore Different Formats

If pills are hard to swallow, determine if they can be crushed or broken in two. If a liquid medication has a bad flavor, see if different flavors are available, or if it can be combined with food to help conceal the taste. There are often multiple techniques to customize how a medication is taken. The doctor or pharmacist can provide suggestions.

Stay Positive!

Caring for a senior loved one who will not adhere to recommended medical advice can be quite stressful. However, expressing your frustrations can aggravate an already challenging situation and make the older person dig their heels in even further. It is important to take the time needed for self-care to make certain your stress levels remain in check so you’ll have the patience you need to maintain a calm attitude.

Let Compassionate Nursing Services, a top St. Louis home care agency, help with medication reminder services from one of our skilled, trained, and experienced senior care experts. We can help ensure doctors’ orders are followed, so you can step away from that particular role and simply enjoy spending some time with your senior loved one. Our medication reminder services are just one small part of the many in-home care services we provide, too. Contact us at 314-432-4312 to learn more ways we can help improve life for both you and a senior you love! For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.