AlzU Blog

Tips for Getting Those with Alzheimer’s Disease to Take Medication

When it comes to caregiving for those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), giving medications may be one of the most challenging daily care activities required.  Here are some tips for getting the job done with the least amount of resistance from your loved one as possible:

Tips for those with AD Who Can Swallow Well

Even for those with AD who have no trouble swallowing pills, daily medication administration can be a real challenge.  When engaging in verbal battles and trying to cajole your loved one to perform does not work at all; here are some steps suggested by the “Alzheimer’s Reading Room;”

1.Get a very small glass of water (such as a juice glass) to avoid intimidating the person with AD with a huge amount of liquid.

2.Avoid sudden attempts to give meds. Start talking to your loved one about casual topics first and be sure you make a connection by smiling.

3.Next, put the glass in front of her/him and then hold out a single pill in the palm of your open hand then simply hold it in front of him/her.

4.Don’t say ANYTHING at all. Just stand there and wait with the pill in hand while doing nothing.

5.If he/she asks what the pill is for, don’t say anything, just hold the pill out in the palm of your hand until your loved one takes the pill, don’t try to hurry the procedure.

This method has been reported as an effective way to get your loved one to take his/her daily medication without engaging in any type of conflict or argument.  According to the author of the “Alzheimer’s Reading Room; “this method is highly effective even when the person with AD strongly resists.” 

Giving Medications to Those in the Later Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

For those who have trouble swallowing, consider crushing pills and place them in some type of food such as low fat yogurt or applesauce.  Be sure to consult with the physician or pharmacist to make sure the pills can be crushed-some medications are time released and crushing could adversely affect the dose your loved one gets.

If medication is available in liquid form, it may be a better option than crushing pills. 
Don’t be rigid about the medication time, if you get a lot of resistance, try waiting and then attempt to give medications again 15 to 20 minutes later.

AT medication time, try not to engage in a lot of conversation which could lead to confusion.  When giving verbal instructions, keep it simple and speak slowly using a calm manner.

Keep in mind that your method may need to evolve with time, just because something works today doesn’t mean the same approach will work tomorrow.

Learn more about medications for those with AD by CLICKING HERE to join our 25 topic lessons for caregivers at

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