With rising age and failing memory, taking the right medication at the right time can be challenging for many seniors. The problem can have serious consequences as it can lead to worsening health conditions or no improvement in health.
Here we discuss some potential reasons why seniors do not take medications as prescribed:
- Unable to understand instructions: Medicines can help seniors only when they are taken in the right dosage. Mixing certain medications or taking them the wrong way can have an adverse effect on seniors’ health. Often seniors don’t understand why they are taking a particular medication and how it should be taken. The best way to resolve this issue is to call the prescribing physician and make sure he or she explains it well to the seniors why a particular medication has been prescribed, how often it should be taken and in what quantity.
- Negative side effects: Some medications can cause side effects like drowsiness, headache and stomach ache. This can create fear in the seniors and they altogether stop taking the medication.
- Denial: Some seniors may remain in denial about their medical condition and refuse to take any medications. Caregivers must speak to them and explain how the medication can make them feel better. They can also arrange a doctor to speak to the seniors and explain the importance of taking medicines correctly and regularly.
- Forgetfulness: It is common for seniors to lose track of their medications, which can be detrimental to their health. Pill organisers, consolidating medicines, setting alarms on phones, etc, are some of the ways seniors can be helped with medication management.
- Assistance needed: Oral medications are not the only ones that seniors have to deal with. Many drugs are administered rectally or through the nasal passage. Seniors may need assistance with injections, eye drops, suppositories, and patches. If there no one to assist them, they might forget to take the medication.
- Bad taste: Seniors may dislike how a particular medicine tastes. As a caregiver, find out if the medication can be taken with any other food or beverages. Mashing the pills with food or taking them with a glass of juice or milk can help mask the bad taste. However, do check with the doctor first before trying any of these methods.
- Physical or mental challenges: Due to physical impediments, poor eyesight or hearing impairment seniors may not be able to take their medications. Seniors with learning disabilities or dementia may also find it difficult to take their medicines correctly. They may require caregiving assistance to manage their medicine.
Missing medications can have serious consequences on seniors’ health. Many care homes in the UK use eMAR, an electronic medication administration record system, to help caregivers avoid common medication mistakes like giving the wrong medication often happens due to confusing drug names), missing doses, or administering medicines through the wrong route. To know how eMAR can help you streamline medication administration, book an eMAR demo today.