How to Help Your Loved One Take Their Medications as Prescribed

As people age into late adulthood, it becomes more and more likely that they will develop a chronic medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or another common issue. Thankfully scientists have developed medications that can help manage these problems.

But did you know that scientists have found that 20-30% of prescribed medicines are never filled and approximately 50% of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed?

It’s a staggering statistic to think that we have resources at our disposal to improve lifespan and quality of life for our seniors, but oftentimes people lack the follow-through and commitment to take medications as prescribed.

There are many reasons a senior might not take their medications:

  1. Memory – They don’t remember instructions from their healthcare provider, have a hard time remembering if they’ve taken them already or not, or simply forget altogether.
  2. Cost – Some seniors can’t afford to fill their prescriptions.
  3. Fear and Mistrust – Seniors might be afraid of the potential side effects of their medications or believe the doctor prescribed medicine simply to get an incentive from pharmaceutical companies, as reported in the news.
  4. Volume – The average senior takes more than five prescription medications and the average nursing home patient takes seven medications. Many seniors don’t like taking so many medications so they may pick and choose which medicines to take.

If you’re concerned that your loved one falls into one of the four categories above, there are some ways you can help them take their medications consistently:

Run the Errands

Getting prescriptions filled and refilled is half of the battle. If your loved one has a hard time running errands or remembering to call the pharmacy, help them by picking up the prescriptions for them and asking the pharmacist for any information you might need to know about the medicine. If your loved one is reluctant to take medication because they don’t understand the purpose behind it, make sure to explain how the medicine is supposed to help them.

If the problem is that your loved one can’t afford to pay for the prescriptions, find a way to make it work. Ask their doctor if there is a generic option available or call their insurance company to try to find a solution.

Get Organized & Have a Sorting Party

Once you have the prescriptions at home, get organized. Read over all of the information about when and how to take the medicine with your loved one. You can even fill out a chart or download an app that can help you keep the information organized.

Then presort and place medications in a daily pill organizer that you can purchase in the drug store or online. 

Set a Routine

Once you have the medications and have them organized, now it’s time to make sure your senior has reminders in place to take the medicine day in and day out.

If they’re somewhat tech-savvy, you can download an app that reminds them to take the medicine each day. If they generally stick to a routine, help them incorporate the medication into it, whether that be brushing their teeth, eating meals, going for their daily walk, etc.

Check back in with your loved one to make sure they’re on track. If you can look at the pill organizer and see if the medication is gone, that’s a good indication that they’ve caught on and are taking their medicine as prescribed.

An Extra Dose of Care

Taking medication is crucial for seniors as they deal with various ailments and health conditions. It’s important to make sure they take their medicine to have the best chance of living a healthy and fulfilling life.

If your loved one needs an extra dose of care or if you could use help taking care of your loved one, our CAREGivers are trained and ready to help. We can take all of the worry and hassle of the process off your shoulders by refilling your loved one’s prescriptions, sorting them into pill organizers, and making sure that your loved one stays on track.