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What to Do When a Senior Parent Won’t Take Medication

Nearly every adult child who provides home care for an aging parent or grandparent will experience a time when he or she refuses to take medication. As opposed to the senior who may forget to take medicine, the senior who refuses to be medicated presents different, more difficult challenges.

The first thing any caregiver should do is look for a proactive solution. This includes a talk with the senior to learn why the medication is being refused. If the reason is something simple, like taste, an equally simple solution may be found. In other cases, look for more creative solutions. Working the problem, rather than trying to force your loved one to take the medicine, will save time and patience.

Difficulty Swallowing or Ingesting the Medication

In these situations, talk to the pharmacist to determine if a liquid form is available or whether a substitute medication in another form is available.

Confusion as to Why the Medication is Necessary

This situation is more common than believed. But with doctors having less and less time with patients, it often happens that the senior doesn’t’ understand the need for the medication. If possible, schedule a consultation with the doctor who can clearly explain the affliction, how the medication will combat the affliction, and the health risks of failing to take the medication as prescribed.

A Higher Perceived Risk of an Adverse Reaction

All medications come with a slight risk of an adverse reaction. Though the risk may be minimal, it might be enough to frighten your elderly loved one. But this fear may be due to not understanding how low the risk actually is. A 1 in 10000 chance of an adverse reaction is far different from a 50 percent chance, odds that some people may perceive as “slight”. Make sure your senior loved one understands how small a chance of an adverse reaction may be.

Side Effects of Medication

Many people on medication experience side effects and eventually try to avoid the medication altogether. Minimizing the effects of the medication may help in some cases. For instance, medications causing drowsiness should only be given at bedtime (or before a midday nap). Solutions may come from the doctor, pharmacist or online research. Advice from a support group related to the same medical affliction might also become a valuable asset.

In other cases, the senior may have heard rumors of a potential side effect. For example, they may have heard a blood pressure medication causes hair loss. In these instances, if assurances from the doctor or pharmacist don’t help, try finding a person who takes the same medication and ask him or her to speak to your loved one. Often, they may trust a user of the medication more than their own doctor or in-home caregiver.

If your loved one doesn’t mind his or her medications, but easily forgets when to take them or when they need to be refilled, it might be time to consider part-time in-home care in Toronto. Home Care Assistance offers both live-in and hourly care, as well as stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care Toronto families trust. To learn more about our care services and how our experienced caregivers are changing the way the senior population ages, give us a call at (416) 488-8777 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.