When the elderly forget to follow medical regimens, it is important to understand why and to act with love and patience in order to help them through the situation.
Medical Advisor: Jorge Fernando Paz, Clinical geriatrician, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
If elderly patients are not clear about what medications they should be taking, they may not remember to take their medications with them when they leave the house or they may not take the right dosage at the right time, which can bring long-term consequences.
Jorge Fernando Paz, clinical geriatrician, offers a few tips on how to handle some people’s frequent forgetfulness, defiance or even lack of interest regarding their health when they reach this stage of life.
According to the specialist, it is most important to first identify the cause of this forgetfulness, “Sometimes we start attributing a lot of things to age when this isn’t always to blame. You have to examine what is normal or if a disease is at hand and learn to manage the situation.”
It is important for the elderly and the family that is close to them to be critical of their situation and to see a specialist in order to understand why the elderly patient is forgetting to take their medications or is not making their scheduled appointments.
“It is crucial to keep the elderly active. As long as family is aware that the patient is capable of being active, it is important to keep them motivated, both physically and mentally, in order for them to feel important.”
The specialist explains however, that “When we notice that they are truly struggling, they should be assigned someone that can look out for them. This doesn’t always have to be a nurse; it can be a family member or caretaker.” Paz emphasizes that while their care often falls on the shoulders of a particular family member, it is important for everyone to provide their support and spend time with them.
Are medications necessary?
Another important factor is knowing what medications are worth continuing to take. Dr. Paz points out that patients often get overloaded with pills. “Sometimes perceived symptoms are actually side-effects of other medications and medications are prescribed for the wrong reasons. Revaluating the medications they are on is critical,” our geriatrician states.
On the other hand, when the physician’s instructions are absolutely necessary, “…having someone with the patience to convince and explain why they should take them is important. This type of care requires special attention, time and the ability to convince them that the treatment is for their own wellbeing.”
These apps are helpful for scheduling reminders:
– Google Calendar: This system is easy to manage. On the menu, when you click on the plus symbol, a list of reminders and event options appears.
– Google Keep: This productivity tool also makes it easy to create a reminder note that can be scheduled .
Keeping the elderly active
Keeping the elderly active and making sure they get enough rest is fundamental. The following are some ideas that can help enrich their lives.
1. Writing things by hand and read out loud.
2. Playing games. Dominoes and chess help them develop their mental skills and concentration. Crosswords and sudoku puzzles are also helpful.
3. Learning something new. Have them take advantage of the different tools and opportunities there are to learn a new language or take a class that is useful to them.
4. Engaging in physical activity. Whether it is a short walk or a workout routine that can be done at home, is important for them to exercise.