A recent research study of over 2,000 older adults finds that an astonishing 87% take at least one prescription drug, and a staggering 36% are taking five or more – as well as 38% using over-the-counter meds on an everyday basis. Medication and the elderly may seem to go hand in hand, but managing these medications in our later years can be quite daunting, with certain risks and dangers which can come about in the process.
As experts in aging care, Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, the top providers of in home care in Kalamazoo and the surrounding area, assists seniors in making sure meds are taken when and how they’re prescribed. It’s also vitally important to be aware of common problems older adults experience with their prescriptions, and how to overcome them. For instance:
Sometimes, signs and symptoms continue regardless of taking medications correctly. Busy physicians may prescribe what is known as a “starter dose” of a medication, which requires follow-up to determine if modification is needed; but many times, that follow-up never occurs. Make sure you schedule a subsequent visit with the physician when a new medication is prescribed, and ensure the senior keeps that visit.
Adverse reactions may be more serious than the condition being treated. Of particular issue are medications that impact a senior’s balance and thinking – escalating the prospect of a fall or any other dangerous consequences. Prescriptions to be specifically on guard about include anticholinergics, sedatives/tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and opiates. Talk with the doctor if any of these medications are prescribed for an older loved one and cautiously weigh the possible risks against benefits.
Remaining compliant with medication adherence may be a struggle. Keeping in mind that one certain med may need to be taken with food, while another on an empty stomach, another with a full glass of water, one before breakfast and two at bedtime, makes it highly challenging to take prescriptions precisely when and how they are prescribed. Enlist the services of a home care agency, such as Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, for medication reminders.
Cost can be prohibitive. When cost for a specific medication is high, seniors may well be inclined to reduce their dosage amounts to conserve cost – a very risky behavior. Older adults can instead consult with their doctors about generic versions of medications, or other methods to keep cost at a minimum.
Be informed on potential interactions with other meds. Bring a full list of every one of the medications your older loved one is taking to a physician or pharmacist with training in polypharmacy, who is able to confirm that the drugs can safely be taken in tandem with each other. Remember to include any over-the-counter medications taken regularly as well. For a fast online evaluation, this drug interaction checker enables you to enter all of a senior’s medications and view any concerns that may then be shared with his / her physician.
Contact Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, the top providers of in home care in Kalamazoo and the surrounding area at (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek to get more medication management tips, as well as for professional hands-on help with medication reminders, transportation to doctors’ appointments, and more to help those you love remain healthy and safe.