Remembering what medication to take is a common challenge for many people but even more so for someone with dementia.
Dementia, is a condition in which there is a deterioration in cognitive skills, memory and the ability to perform daily activities. People with this debilitating disease often take a number of medications for different medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes. This is defined as polypharmacy. Medication management is therefore crucial for older people who have different prescriptions for different medical conditions.
Polypharmacy poses a number of health risks, such as dangerous drug interactions and over medication. A system for people with dementia is therefore essential to avoid these potential hazards.
Listed below are some tips on how to help people with dementia take their medications properly and reduce the risks:
1. Coordinate with their doctor and pharmacists
People with dementia are often under a specialist doctor. Make sure to update yourself with the different medications they are taking.
2. Create a relaxed environment
When it is medication time, soothing music can help relax both you and the person you’re caring for. Try to maintain a calm disposition to help avoid agitating or worrying the person taking the medicine. Finally try to identify what triggers distress and then find ways to remove that stress in the future.
3. Maintain medication records
When new medications have been prescribed, find out about the possible drug interactions with the other medications being taken. It is vital to know about each medicine’s information like name, dosage, purpose, and side effects. Be alert to the unpleasant side effects of the prescribed medicine, such as nausea, stomach aches, headaches, and dizziness. It is imperative to take medications as per the instructions of the doctor.
4. Be their medication buddy
Try scheduling taking your medicine at the same time. It helps create a feeling of a shared activity and can reduce the chance of medication refusal.
5. Use a medication dispenser
Using an automated pill dispenser can ensure that the right medications are given at the correct times. There are several medication dispensers on the market, such as the TabTime Medelert, that can remind your loved one to take their pills with an audio and visual alarm. Our dispenser includes a lock to reduce the risk of medication being taken accidentally which can occur due to the confusion that dementia can cause.
6. Do it routinely
A person with dementia can greatly benefit from a routine and this applies equally to taking medication.
Helping someone with dementia take their daily medications can be challenging and we hope these tips help.If you’d like to know more about our automatic pill dispenser and how it can help someone with dementia please do get in touch.