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4 Tips for When Seniors Avoid Taking Dementia Medications

By Debbie Waddell, 9:00 am on

For seniors with dementia, it can be hard to trust or make sense of the world around them. If your elderly loved one with dementia experiences these feelings of confusion and suspicion, he or she may also begin resisting important everyday activities, like eating or taking his or her medications. To help ensure your loved one takes the medications he or she needs to stay healthy, the Placer County senior home care experts at Home Care Assistance suggest trying the following strategies. 

1. Try Liquid Medications

Whether your loved one has dementia or another health condition, swallowing pills is often challenging for seniors. If your loved one refuses to take his or her medication because he or she is uncomfortable with swallowing pills, ask your loved one’s physician if there are liquid alternatives available.

2. Distract Your Loved One

For seniors who experience paranoia and delusions, offering them medications can lead to discomfort and extreme suspicion. However, presenting the medication without ceremony can sometimes help avoid this type of reaction. Start a conversation about something pleasant, like a family memory, and then casually hand your loved one the medication as he or she is speaking. This way, your loved one may unthinkingly take the medication without becoming suspicious.

3. Hide Medication in Food or Drink

If you are unable to hand off your loved one’s medications without him or her noticing, putting them into food or drink can help him or her avoid the bad taste, as well as feelings of suspicion. For liquid medication, have a Placer County dementia caregiver prepare a tea or other food item that you can mix the medication into. For pills, crush them and add to drinks or soft foods, like applesauce. However, be aware: Never crush up a pill without asking your loved one’s physician as some pills contain special coatings or are meant to be time-released and shouldn’t be broken down.

4. Ask About Sprays

For medications that aren’t available in liquid forms and can’t be crushed up, there is another alternative. As certain pills can be sprayed with a liquid that makes them slippery and easier to swallow, consider asking your loved one’s doctor if he or she can recommend or prescribe a good pill spray.

If symptoms of dementia are making daily life difficult for you, your family, and your elderly loved one, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our professionally trained caregivers can assist with a variety of tasks that are challenging for individuals with memory conditions, including providing medication reminders, cooking, and personal grooming, to help ensure a high quality of life for your loved one. In addition to our dementia care services, we also offer Parkinson’s and stroke care in Placer County, so whether your loved one experiences physical or cognitive challenges, we are here to help. To ask questions about our services, give a Care Manager a call at 916.226.3737 and set up a free in-home consultation.

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