While we know that medications are quite often life-savers, we have also heard plenty of alarming accounts of patients who mistakenly obtained an incorrect medication – either because of a miscommunication with the prescribing medical practitioner or the pharmacy. Yet there is also an inherent hazard to taking any drugs: substance misuse.
Just as it would be extremely hazardous to drive the wrong direction on a one-way highway, medication misuse is equally concerning. As a matter of fact, it’s actually MORE disconcerting, with in excess of 100,000 people annually dying as a result of prescription mismanagement – a full double the number killed in auto collisions. The following kinds of medication management issues arise all too often:
- Neglecting to pick up prescriptions or refills
- Skipping a dose (or a number of doses)
- Erroneously taking another person’s drugs
- Taking an excessive amount of a medication
- Stopping a medication before the prescribing doctor advises
- Inappropriately using medication administering instruments, such as syringes or inhalers
- Taking medicine that is past its expiration date
Medication management can be particularly complex for the elderly who commonly take a wide variety of different prescriptions as well as over-the-counter medications. Grace Home Care outlines some of the greatest challenges older adults encounter with medication adherence, and tips to assist with each:
- Memory Issues: Loss of memory is a significant factor in seniors being able to take medicines consistently as prescribed. Those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can either forget to take their medications, or forget that they’ve already taken them and end up taking multiple dosages.
- Medication Management Tip: Pill dispensers are a good way to account for medications taken. A member of the family can set the dispensers up for his or her older loved one, and provide oversight to assure that meds are taken at the proper time each day.
- Swallowing Problems: Specifically with larger tablets and capsules, swallowing pills can be hard for some older adults.
- Medication Management Tip: Even though it may possibly seem like a good idea to break up or cut pills to make them less difficult to swallow, this should never be done without the doctor’s authorization. If they must be taken whole, determine if the medicine can be provided instead in either liquid form or in smaller pill sizes.
- Transportation Struggles: One typical issue with seniors is merely being unable to drive to pick up prescriptions and refills.
- Medication Management Tip: Prescriptions delivered by mail might be an option, or enlist the services of an in-home care expert, such as those at Grace Home Care, to pick up prescriptions for the senior on a regular basis.
Proper medication management is necessary for seniors to be healthy and safe. For more strategies and assistance with making certain your elderly loved ones are taking medications correctly, and to learn more about our expert Topeka home care services for seniors, contact Grace Home Care at 785.286.CARE.