There are no treatments today that can cure Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are currently four medications, approved by Health Canada, that can treat symptoms of the disease.
Medications to treat Alzheimer's may slow the rate of cognitive decline, or help with symptoms such as changes in language, thinking abilities and movement. Like any other medication, it is important that these are taken consistently at the right time and in the right dose.
The best and safest method of giving medication to individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease is using an automatic medication dispenser. Using this device makes it very easy for seniors and caregivers to adhere to medication schedules and ensure that all medication is taken on time and in the correct doses.
There are other things you can do to help make giving medication a smooth process. . Here are our top tips for giving medications safely and easily.
7 Tips for giving Medication To People Living with Alzheimer’s Disease Safely & Easily
Cognitive impairment as a result of dementia is more common in older adults. Unfortunately, treatment options are limited and there is no ‘magic cure’ for Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
This can create challenges if their symptoms continue to deteriorate over time. Mood swings, memory loss, and the inability to think clearly can make even simple tasks, such as giving medication, a challenge.
To make life easier for caregivers here are some simple tips and tricks to overcome the potential challenges of giving medication to those living with dementia.
Wait For The Right Time
Timing is everything!
Avoid giving medication during times when you feel they might be in a negative mood. Also, take note of these timings and consult with your healthcare professional to see if they can set up a medication schedule to work around those times.
Create A Calm & Peaceful Environment
When giving medication, try to ensure a comfortable and relaxed environment.
As a caregiver, if you are stressed or agitated the person living with Dementia will likely sense that and as a result, be less cooperating. Try to remain calm when giving medication regardless of what they might say or do.
Make Doses Easier To Take
Taking multiple pills at one time can be very difficult, not just for seniors but for anyone! Certain pills can also be really large and difficult to swallow which might be the reason why they could get refused.
In such instances, consult with your pharmacist to see whether a liquid formula could be given instead or whether the pill can be crushed and mixed in food such as yoghourt.
Remember, not all pills can be crushed. Some pills when crushed can become less effective or even harmful. ALWAYS consult with a healthcare professional when trying to make medication easier to consume.
Be Knowledgeable About Prescribed Medication
The more knowledgeable you are about prescription and OTC medications that a person with dementia takes the easier it will be to manage symptoms and potentially challenging behaviours.
Apart from just noting the times to give medication, learn about the purpose of each drug and why it is necessary. The more knowledge you have about a drug’s purpose and any associated side effects the easier it will become for you to spot anything out of the ordinary.
Take Note Of Any Behavioural Changes Or Unpleasant Side Effects
Any new drug given to an individual with dementia has to be carefully monitored. Any unusual activity or unpleasant side effects must be noted and discussed with a healthcare professional immediately.
Adhere To A Daily Routine But Never Force It
It is always best to stick to a daily routine when it comes to giving medication. This is not just beneficial for the caregiver but also for the individual living with dementia.
The best time for giving medication is just after their meal as they’re likely still in ‘eating mode’ and likely more open to taking a few pills and having a glass of water.
Use A Pill Dispenser
A pill dispenser can make life a whole lot simpler for both the caregiver and the person living with Dementia. This simple device can be programmed to alert users when it is time to take their medication and dispense the correct dose automatically.
Using a digital medication dispenser can greatly reduce medication errors, improper or unscheduled dosing, or simply forgetting to take meds. The device is perfect for people living with dementia that might have complex daily medication regimens.
The best pill dispensers for people living with Dementia are easy to use, reliable, and now extremely affordable thanks to subscription-based models.
Medications are helpful but only when taken as prescribed. Ensuring pills are taken at the right time and in the right dose can be made more challenging if the person you’re caring for has memory challenges. Creating the right environment and using tools can make the task much easier.