11 ways to get someone with dementia to take medication

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Posted Aug 28th, 2019 in Alzheimer's & Other Dementias, Medication

11 ways to get someone with dementia to take medication

Create a calm and quiet environment
The key is to create a calm environment where the person who has dementia can feel relaxed, without any loud sounds, for example, you can try playing soothing music. Before you start, take some deep breaths and try to stay calm yourself during the process. If you feel angry or in a bad mood, they’ll feel it and might react negatively.
Be alert to side effects or illness that makes them feel sick or uncomfortable
Some medications can cause unpleasant side effects such as nausea, stomach aches, agitation, or it may just be very unpleasant medicine to them. If you suspect that the medication is a problem, speak with the doctor to look for a solution. Remember that as the disease progresses it becomes more difficult for the person to express how they feel.
Eliminate medications or supplements that aren’t absolutely necessary
Sometimes doctors forget to review medications and maybe some aren’t needed anymore. Schedule a regular review with the doctor to see if any medications should be stopped. You definitely don’t want to give the person more pills than are necessary.
Make pills easier to take
Always try to make the situation easy for your loved ones with dementia. Some pills can be difficult for them to take, so ask the doctor or pharmacist to see if there other ways to take the medications. For example, if the medication could be changed to a liquid formula or if you can crush the pill and add them to some food. Some pills could be too large and hard to swallow. But always ask the doctor first because some medications can become less effective or even unsafe if you crush them.
Use short sentences and don’t explain or reason
Try not to get into a conversation about the medication, just pick a moment when the person is calm and use some direct sentences that are to the point.
Look for things that trigger distress
Sometimes the person who has dementia doesn’t like taking any medication or the sight of many bottles of pills makes them anxious. So, you can try to avoid this situation by only giving one pill at the required time, and keepingthe rest out of sight.
Be their medication buddy
It could also help if you take your medication at the same time because you can use it as a friendly reminder. If you don’t take any medication just try to take a candy that can appear as a medication to the person.
Don’t force it, try again in 10-15 minutes
If your older adult does not want to take his/her medication, do not force it, leave them alone and try later when the person is calm.
Find the right time of day
Think about which is the best time to give the person their medications as sometimes there is a regular pattern of mood swings. Try to identify when they are in the best mood and speak with their doctor to see if it is possible to schedule the medications for these times.
Stick to a daily routine
Try to give medications at the same time and in the same place each day for example when they are comfortable while watching TV or relaxing in their favorite chair. The person can be more cooperative with a regular schedule.
Offer a treat
Everyone likes to get a reward, you can apply this idea as well in the medication process. Each time or day that the person needs to take their medication, you can give a reward if they do it which also creates a friendly environment for them.

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