How to Handle Difficult Behaviors
Won't take medicine
May have "medication overload" -- balking at the sheer number of doses that must be swallowed in a day. May dislike the taste. May have trouble swallowing. May dislike being reminded of his or her health problems.
What to do:
Start by going over, with the person's doctor, all medications and supplements taken. Ask if any can be safely eliminated or reduced.
Find out if any medications can be given in alternate formulations. Some pills can be crushed or liquefied and concealed in foods (such as pudding, applesauce, or ice cream) or beverages. Always check with the doctor or a pharmacist first; modifying doses yourself is a potentially dangerous medication mistake.
Try offering medications first thing in the morning when the person is still a little groggy and cooperative (for those meds that can be given on no food at that time).
Have everyone in the household take his or her own pills (even if it's just a vitamin) together at the same time, to normalize pill-taking and reinforce the habit.
Try not to nag, but do point out the benefits of each drug.
See a geriatrician's perspective on how to handle someone's refusal to take medications.