As seniors continue to age and face new changes and challenges connected to their health, doctors and specialists will often prescribe or recommend adjustments, behaviours, and exercises that can be incorporated to better help seniors keep on top of their health and build some balance into their lives.
The prescription of medications to attend to numerous medical needs is very common for seniors, and while just taking the medications recommended by medical professionals may seem like a no-brainer, the reality for seniors can be altogether different. Thoughts, emotions, worries, capacities, and other barriers exist that impair seniors’ ability or willingness to take the medications they are prescribed, so it is important that loved-ones and caregivers make themselves aware of the various thoughts, emotions, judgements, and limitations that may get in the way of allowing seniors to stick to their medication plans, in order to help seniors take proper care of themselves while also being respectful of their points of view.
The many cognitive, physical, and practical changes that seniors face as they grow older, along with the challenges that come along with those changes, can add up to create barriers that deter seniors from sticking to the regimens and prescriptions that doctors and specialists recommend to keep them healthy. Many of these barriers can be overcome with care and encouragement from caregivers, loved ones, and support systems that help seniors to better understand, manage, and stick to the routines and practices involved in taking their medications. Some barriers exist as a result of emotional or judgement-based factors that lead seniors to deliberately stray from recommendations related to their medication. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes the following as some possible contributors:
- Lack of Adequate Information
- Low Motivation
- Lack of Confidence in One’s Own Ability (Poor Self-Efficacy)
Starting A Discussion
Having a senior loved one in your life that is unwilling to take medication as they have been directed by healthcare professionals can be incredibly frustrating and challenging for caregivers, particularly because you know that the medications in question are there with the intent of improving quality of life and health. Despite this, however, it is crucial to make sure that all conversations are respectful of the other person’s position. It is possible to offer seniors all the relevant information that they need to be able to make educated decisions about their medication while also being respectful of their perspectives and thought processes. Try addressing the subject in a non-confrontational way to have a productive conversation that will help to clarify barriers and work through them. Talking through medications and their directions together can offer a chance to discuss the reasons that each medication has been prescribed, and can help seniors to better think through any concerns or judgements that are getting in the way of medication adherence. Some misconceptions or worries that seniors may have concerning their medications can include:
- Fear of Dependency on Medication
- Concerns About Stigma Attached to Medication
- Worries About Side Effects
- Denial of Illness
- Judgements About Medication Effectiveness
Starting a productive discussion between seniors, their caregivers, and their healthcare professionals can help to clarify the reasons behind why certain medications have been prescribed, and can reiterate how crucial it is to stick to recommendations and directions concerning medication. Research has shown that making sure seniors are educated, well-informed, motivated, and supported is a successful way to encourage medication adherence, and this can help seniors in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge to maintain a better and more enriching state of overall health and wellbeing.