One of the challenges you may face as a caregiver to an older adult with dementia is getting them to take their medication. They may refuse because they are confused or because they are afraid. They might also feel like they have little control over their lives and refusing to take medicine is one way of regaining some control.
Knowing these 5 tips could help you to overcome the challenge and get your aging relative to take their medicine with less fuss.
#1: Keep Things Calm
Before asking the older adult to take their medication, make sure the environment is quiet. When the room is calm and free of distractions, the senior can focus on the task at hand. Turn off the television and radio. Also, make sure you’re feeling calm since the person may pick up on your anxiety and react by becoming anxious themselves.
#2: Watch for Signs of Discomfort
Some pills can be hard to swallow because they are large or chalky or they may cause side effects, like nausea. Keep an eye out for signs that something about the medication is causing physical discomfort. If the pills are too large, try cutting them in half, if possible. You can also ask the pharmacist if medications are available in liquid forms. If side effects seem to be the problem, talk to the doctor about whether there is an alternative medicine.
#3: Eliminate What Isn’t Necessary
Having a lot of pills to take can be overwhelming. Ask the senior’s doctor to review their medications and supplements for ones that are no longer necessary.
#4: Avoid Explaining and Reasoning
Don’t attempt to explain to your aging relative why they need to take their medications or reason with them if they argue. Instead, stick to short, instructional sentences. It can help to mimic taking a pill, so that the person copies you. You might take your medications at the same time or use a small piece of candy that resembles a pill. Then, say something like, “Take a big drink” and hand them a cup of water.
#5: Take a Breather
If nothing you try works, don’t force the issue. Let them calm down for about 15 minutes and give yourself a chance to calm down, too. Then, try again.
Although home care services providers cannot give medicines to your older family member, they can remind them when it is time to take medications. Home care services providers can also monitor your aging relative to make sure they don’t take a dose twice. Because home care services agencies can often match the experience and skills of their staff with the needs of clients, it is likely that the home care services provider assigned to your family member will have some experience with dementia. This will make them able to better relate and overcome some of the challenges associated with the condition.