Simple, sensible changes to the way we live can sometimes mean we can avoid medication. It is sensible to try non-pharmacological approaches and healthy lifestyle changes to manage a condition before resorting to pills. However, never make any changes to medication without discussing it with the doctor first.

Lifestyle changes to reduce reliance on medication

Alternatives to taking sleeping tablets:

o    Monitor sleep patterns and try and adopt a regular routine. Go to bed and wake up at a fixed time.

o    Have a bath or milky drink before bedtime

o    Use lavender to help promote a natural sleep

o    Avoid caffeine after 1 p.m. and if possible remove it from your diet altogether.

o    Increase exercise and avoid daytime napping.

o    Avoid alcohol close to bed time.

o    Don’t use mobile phones or other gadgets emitting blue light before bedtime.

Lifestyle changes to reduce reliance on medication

Alternatives to taking laxatives:

o    Eat a high fibre diet and plenty of fruit.

o    Drink plenty of water.

o    Exercise regularly.

o    Identify medications causing constipation – codeine based painkillers can often lead to constipation.

Alternatives to taking medication for urinary incontinence:

o    There are many proven bladder training and pelvic exercises – GPs can recommend specialists to help.

o    Visit the bathroom every two hours while awake.

o    Treat urinary infections promptly with antibiotics.

o    If night time incontinence is a problem or getting up in the night is an issue, avoid drinking a couple of hours before bed.

o    Discuss the problem with the GP as there may be a treatable medical reason for the incontinence.



First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a first aid course or do one online to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

Introducing a comprehensive guide to accident prevention and treatment in the older generation; Slips, Trips and Fractured Hips by Emma Hammett RGN. This book has been written for people caring for older friends and relatives; children caring for elderly parents, for spouses, for older people wanting to keep themselves that bit safer and for anyone working with or caring for older people. It is designed to help you take measures to prevent life-threatening injuries and help you plan, prepare and avoid mishap, as well as equip you with the necessary skills should an accident occur.