A current research study of more than 2,000 seniors finds that a stunning 87% take one or more prescription drugs, and a full 36% are taking five or more – in addition to 38% using over-the-counter meds on a frequent basis. Medication management for seniors can be extremely challenging, and there are certain risks and dangers which can come about during the process.
As experts in aging care, Seniorcorp’s caregiving team helps your senior loved ones in making sure meds are taken when and exactly how they’re prescribed. It is also imperative to understand common problems seniors experience with using their prescriptions, and just how to overcome them. For example:
In some cases, signs and symptoms continue despite taking medications correctly. Busy doctors may prescribe what’s known as a “starter dose” of a medication, which requires follow-up to figure out if modification is necessary; but often, that follow-up never occurs. Be sure to schedule a subsequent visit with the doctor when a brand new medication is prescribed, and ensure the senior keeps that visit.
Side effects could very well be more severe than the condition being treated. Of particular issue are medications that impact a senior’s balance and thinking – increasing the chance of a fall or some other dangerous consequence. Prescriptions to be especially on guard about consist of anticholinergics, sedatives/tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and opiates. Talk with your physician if any of these medications are prescribed for an older loved one and cautiously weigh the potential risks against benefits.
Remaining compliant with medication adherence may be a struggle. Keeping in mind that one certain med needs 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 extraordinarily difficult to take prescriptions precisely when and how they are prescribed. Enlist the services of a home care agency, like Seniorcorp, for medication reminders.
Cost may be prohibitive. When cost for a certain medication is high, seniors can be inclined to reduce their dosage amounts to conserve cost – a very risky behavior. Seniors can instead consult with their doctors about generic versions of medications, or other means to keep cost at a minimum.
Be informed on possible interactions with other meds. Bring the complete list of every one of the medications your parent is taking to a doctor or pharmacist with knowledge in polypharmacy, who can confirm that the drugs can safely be taken in conjunction with one another. Make sure to include any over-the-counter medications taken routinely as well. For a fast online assessment, this drug interaction checker allows you to enter all of a senior’s medications and view any concerns, which can then be discussed with his/her health care provider.
Contact Seniorcorp, at 757-640-0557 for lots more tips on medication management for seniors or to get a home health aide Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas depend on. We provide professional hands-on assistance with medication reminders, transportation to doctors’ appointments, and more to assist those you love in staying healthy and safe.