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One of the common problems in older adults is refusing to take medications prescribed by doctors. They can be stubborn, and you may struggle with them.

I know this from my personal experience. My grandfather hasn’t been to the doctor since he turned 80 and had never taken any medication ever since I was born. He was getting seriously ill, and the doctor prescribed him several medications to treat his condition.

Stubborn as he was, he didn’t believe those pills could help him. My mom and aunt fought a real battle with him. Eventually, when his condition got worse, he agreed to take the medicines.

With my uncle, who had cardiovascular problems, the situation was somewhat similar. A doctor prescribed him medications, and he was taking them on and off, depending on the day and how he felt.

There are some seniors who refuse medications, believing people are trying to poison them. We were lucky that was not the case, but still, it took us a lot of effort to convince them what was best for their health.

Why Do Seniors Refuse to Take Medicines?

Over 10% of people in hospitals are there because they were missing their medication doses.

So what are the reasons for all these people to avoid taking medicines?

One is stubbornness, as it was in my grandfather’s case. Some older adults don’t believe the medications will improve their condition. Others turn to a healthy diet and taking natural remedies. It is great if they begin leading a healthier life, but this can’t be a substitute for medicine.

People can also miss their doses because medications remind them they are sick, and by avoiding them they will not have to think about it.

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Others, like my uncle for example, take medications as long as they believe they need them. Once they start feeling better, they immediately stop those medications. Doing this is especially dangerous when people have high blood pressure and heart disease. People should never stop their treatment before consulting a physician. If you think you don’t need it anymore, ask your doctor’s opinion.

It is true that certain types of medicines are expensive. Thus seniors who are on a tight budget may avoid taking them. However in the long run, missing medications can be even more costly. This can cause even bigger problems so you can end up paying more than the price of the medicine.

How to Convince Seniors to Take Medicines

The first rule is don’t yell. If you are rude and offensive, you won’t achieve anything. Keep a positive attitude, even when they turn medicines down multiple times.

Ask them what the reason is for rejecting their medicines. Find out how they feel about everything.

Sometimes seniors are stubborn and believe they can live normally without medications. In such cases, the best would be to visit a doctor together. Let the doctor explain all the consequences. They will trust a person with authority more than a family member.

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There are also cases when seniors are completely right. Perhaps they suffer from side effects. Medicines can make them dizzy, sick, or cause stomachache, etc. Be sure of what the real reason is behind missing doses.

Certain pills are hard to swallow and taste bad. In these situations, check with a doctor to see if there is any alternative.

Dealing with your senior can be difficult sometimes, especially if they are stubborn. Make sure to always have a positive approach and ask them about their thoughts and feelings. Avoiding medicines can be the tip of the iceberg, and there could be much more underneath.  Find out the reasons for such behavior and ask for doctor’s advice if needed.


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