One of the most difficult challenges for any adult is dealing with age-related medical conditions, especially those that cause health to decline quickly.
Whether it's heart disease or a life-threatening illness like cancer, treating chronic conditions without a strict medication schedule is far more difficult than it needs to be.
After all, it's perfectly understandable to be hesitant about taking new medications. Often, people report the fear of side effects as their primary reason for not taking medications as prescribed.
Still, that doesn't tell the entire story about why adults struggle taking medication on time, so this article goes over what to do when a loved one doesn't remember to take their medication.
How do you help your parents remember to take medication?
Many older parents want to be independent. They don't want to bother their children or other relatives. Some refuse their families' support.
However, getting older requires more hands-on health care, especially for an elder person with a mental illness.
With this common problem on mental health, it's perfectly understandable why some aging people don't follow their doctor's instructions very well. They forget where they've put their pill box or the time of day in taking medication.
Besides, resistance and skepticism to medical treatment is a phenomenon that still confounds the medical community. Some believe that the diagnosis or treatment is unnecessary because they feel fine. Alternatively, these elderly think taking medicine won't heal them anyway.
Another reason could be that people don't like to use hard-to-open medicine packaging, such as blister packs.
What's a blister pack?
Generally, a blister pack is one of the most common ways that prescription drug manufacturers package medications. A blister pack consists of nothing more than a thin sheet of plastic around the pills and a flimsy piece of foil that peels away. For the manufacturer, it's very cost-effective.
The pills themselves are supposed to punch through the foil effortlessly. But ask anyone who has tried to open one, and they'll say that blister packs are inconvenient, to say the least.
So, step one is adapting effective medication management. You can eliminate or reduce the number of blister packs. There are better options available, like using a daily medicine pill box instead.
After that, the next step is to move on to different tips and tricks to remember.
What are the tips on medication management for an aging family member?
As families, you want your parents or other aging members to have the most comfortable life in their golden years. Here are some tips that could help one medication management.
It's common that some relationships are problematic. But, don't let this issue a hindrance to making an elderly's life easier.
A simple heart-to-heart talk where you just listen could go a long way in understanding why your older parents don't like to take meds. Sometimes, communication is more helpful to them than to you.
As much as you want to do the right thing, asking what they want can make a difference. It doesn't end in asking.
You should find ways to support what they want or come up with a middle ground. Put yourself in their shoes and see how you can manage the side effects of taking a pill.
Some elders could be proud individuals. They don't like to hear advice when they're not asking for it. So, when you have that heart-to-heart talk, refrain from giving advice unless they ask for it.
All you need is to validate their feelings and tell them that taking medications sucks, too. Sometimes, this is effective and they lower their defenses.
When this happens, you can make them understand the need to take medications and why there's so much concern from loved ones.
To get aging parents to take medication, one easy trick is to develop a daily routine and stick to it.
It could be taking a high-blood-pressure medication after breakfast or a sleep medication at night before bedtime. The idea is to make them comfortable in following a routine.
If they don't want to do this routine, you can ask them what they want to do. Explore the different options together, so you can uncover differences and the best way.
Pushing what you want will make everything difficult. Give your elderly some decisions to make. This will make them feel that their opinions still matter even at their age.
Moreover, don't remind them about their illnesses. They know it more than you do and how these conditions make them feel incompetent.
You and your parents need support. When everything makes you frustrated and tired, take the time to find support, someone who knows how you are feeling, or a person who is a caregiver.
These people could be resources of tips on how to handle difficult people. They can help you know when to push a topic on medication or to let go.
Taking care of a loved one is a difficult task, even if you're not hands-on. So, find all the support you need.
Still, there would be times that the elderly might forget their medications.
How to remind the elderly to take pills
Whether it's a parent, a child, or a loved one, anybody can neglect their medication routine, and the issue really isn't any more complicated than that.
If elderly adults keep forgetting to take their medicines, it doesn't mean that they are doing something wrong or that they're losing their memory.
Maybe, they seem to forget to take their high blood pressure medication. Perhaps, they forget to take diabetes medication after meals.
Either way, forgetting about taking medication at the same time every day is a common problem, yet among the elderly, it occurs more often.
Why do many people forget to take medications?
Honestly, is forgetting about medicine a personal choice or merely a bad habit? Do elders even want to take their meds in the first place? Here are some of the reasons some people forget to take medicines.
The answers aren't very clear from formal medical literature, but the main takeaway for adults with aging parents is this: They need love, support, and care just as much as they gave their children love and care.
Now, it's time to change roles and make sure that parents are following their doctor's medical advice.
Still, one issue remains. Some parents have a difficult time letting go of the parenting role and allowing their adult children to take care of them.
Well, first of all, the elderly have more medications to take, especially if they're suffering from several chronic conditions at the same time.
That also means their treatment regimen, in general, is more complex and may entail longer courses of treatment.
Besides these complexities, chronic disease can affect an older person's cognitive functions, motor skills, and psychological capacities. These are the reasons many older people forget to take a pill.
Mental illness could be the result of a chronic condition such as depression or age-related factors such as dementia.
These illnesses if left untreated (in the case of depression) or unmanaged (in the case of dementia) can lead to serious complications.
Ultimately, they can affect an older person's ability to track his or her schedule of taking medications.
Complicated Dose Schedule
Taking too many medications can get confusing for older people. It becomes more complicated if your parents or an aging family member has several meds with different dosing schedules.
The situation becomes worse if the person has a mental illness. With impaired cognitive functions, they might find it hard to keep up.
How to help people with dementia remember to take medication
Unfortunately, if a family member develops symptoms of dementia or other mental health problems, they'll have a far more difficult time remembering to take meds on time – if at all in most severe cases.
The bottom line is that the tips and recommendations up to this point only work when someone still has enough cognitive functioning to remember anything.
So, how can you help a loved one who can't remember their own name, who fails to eat food on time, or can't remember what their loved ones look like?
The first thing to do is to ask a doctor to simplify the medication regimen if possible. Simplification of medication regimen increases the probability of older people to self-manage without a caregiver looming around.
This strategy increases their confidence and of course, family members are at ease. But, when it comes to dementia, simplification may not be an option.
This next step can help a person with mental health problems such as dementia. Ask them to write down their medication names, doses, remaining refills, and what the drug is for. Create a template they can use.
It's as simple as using a sticky note, calendar, or a notebook. But, the paper could be lost anywhere in the house, get wet, or thrown away accidentally.
If the person can use a smartphone, an app would be a great way to remind him or her what pills to take (which we will introduce a device fit for people with forgetfulness).
As a family to the elderly, you can support them in the simplest way. Another simple way is to call the elderly to take medicines if they happen to get busy and forget during the week.
Still, helping someone with dementia remember to drink their medicine on time is a whole other type of challenge because dementia is such a debilitating illness.
Pill box is the best place to store your medicines with labels each day. Some even have compartments for morning medications and night medicines.
But a person with dementia will forget where the pill container is, or they may forget what day it is and guess which medicine is suitable.
At times, a simple reminder like an alarm clock or an automated reminder to take pills from a smartphone app is all it takes.
Talk to your elderly parents about using resources or tools that are helpful in taking a pill or medicines. We know that some oldies could be stubborn with technological advancements.
Is there a better way to remember to take pills on time?
Yes, there's a much better way to take pills on time with the PillSmart system or a Karie device by Mednow.
There aren't many comparable services when it comes to remembering to take meds on time, and that's what makes these products so unique.
They're genuinely an alternative to receiving pills the old-fashioned way in large plastic bottles with child-proof lids. These tools are an excellent addition to simplified medication management.
First, the PillSmart system doesn't use clumsy blister packs. It doesn't ship medications in different bottles that then have to be sorted manually.
Mednow can ship medications in easy-to-open pouches that contain all of the essential information about the pills, including:
● Special instructions
Best of all, the information is printed on the pouch, so it's easier to remember how to take medicines.
Mednow can also ship PillSmart pouches directly to patients without the need to visit a doctor or pharmacist for refills.
Yet, people with mental health problems need further assistance. That's why Mednow partnered with Karie – the top automated pill dispenser on the market today.
Karie devices automatically organize, schedule, and dispense medication with a single touch of a button. It makes medication management a lot easier.
How does it work? Mednow will ship the medications in special pouches that get inserted into the Karie device to your loved one who needs it.
Patients receive pill alerts to remind them it's medication time, and Karie comes with its own smartphone app, which can also send notifications and reminders.
It even has security features to make sure that medications are going to the intended patient, and there's also customer support available.
In the end, both of these services and products from Mednow make it significantly easier to take pills on time, so loved ones can gain peace of mind.
Mednow.ca is Canada’s top virtual pharmacy, providing an exceptional patient experience at home, including free prescription delivery.
Overall, our services include:
● Easy access to a doctor or pharmacist
● Virtual care
● Karie and PillSmart
● Online drug store
● Free prescription delivery
● Full-service mobile app
Best of all, Mednow.ca accepts all Canadian insurance providers.Get Started