Giving Medication When the Person Fights it

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ASK DR. MINDY

MINDY KIM-MILLER, MD, PhD to learn more about Dr. Mindy click here Question: I’m taking care of a friend with stage 2 Alzheimer’s. I was wondering if there is any easy way to give them their meds without them fighting me every time.
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–K.C.

Answer: There are several strategies you can try when giving medication to someone who is resistant to taking it. One strategy is to crush pills and put them into food, such as applesauce, jam, smoothies or shakes, fruit cocktails, and other flavorful foods that can disguise the taste of the medicine. Another possibility is to ask the physician to prescribe the medication in liquid form if available, and put it in the person’s morning juice or milk. Be sure to check whether the medication states that it should not be crushed or taken with food. Another strategy is to use distraction while lifting the medication cup to the person’s lips. For example, try distracting the person by commenting on their hair-do or a new hat or something on the television. This approach is more likely to work in the mid to late stages of Alzheimer’s. It is important not to fight with the person or be too insistent. Try using a persuasive tone and approach. Sit down facing the person, smile, and address her by name. Then say something like, “It’s time for your vitamins,” or, “(Person’s name), would you like to go for a walk outside? (Pause for response.) Here are your vitamins before we go.” If the person still refuses to take the medications, let it go and try again in an hour or so. Another option might be to use medication patches if available. Discuss medication options with the person’s physician.  Dr. Mindy Kim-Miller is a trained medical physician who provides useful, but general answers to questions provided by online visitors. While Dr. Mindy can not provide specific medical advice or services, we hope you find her responses useful in your personal education. All information is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect you have an illness or disease, or a health related condition of any kind, seek professional medical care with an appropriate health care professional immediately. Do not postpone or delay seeking treatment or disregard professional advice based upon the general answers provided by Dr. Mindy. Dr. Mindy’s advice is not intended to substitute for a visit to your personal physician or other qualified health provider. Any specific medical concerns or questions you may have should be directed to your personal physician or other qualified health provider.

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