No one told us that growing old was going to be easy. Have you ever heard the term, “growing old is not for the faint of heart?” Well, this is true in many ways including having to take medications as our bodies age, and thus making medication safety for the elderly more and more critical.
As we age, our bodies go through many changes. Our internal organs don’t work as well and will respond differently to medications. Many of us lose or gain weight, often becoming less active, and this will play a factor as well.
There are also changes in our digestive systems that make it more difficult to absorb medications. Elderly adults often have chronic conditions, such as, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses that need to be treated regularly.
Risks and Challenges
The United States is in the middle of a huge epidemic of drug overdoses and opium addiction. This is another reason why we must be diligent when it comes to medication safety for the elderly, not just young adults.
Most elderly adults take at least one medication (8 out of 10) and many take three or more medications. Many of these individuals are taking over the counter medication along with prescription medication. They also use more supplements than younger people.
What many of them do not realize, or pay attention to, are the drug interactions that can happen when you combine all of these medications. It is easy to have mix-ups that can cause nasty side effects.
Many elderly adults also face memory challenges, vision and hearing loss. This can make it difficult when meeting with health care professionals. It makes it hard to follow directions, the more complicated the conditions are, the more difficult to manage the medication regimen.
Older adults also may have many different health care professionals that they are receiving treatment from. This makes it even more difficult to avoid drug interactions.
The bottom line is that when faced with taking multiple medications, elderly adults can have a hard time with keeping things straight. To add to the confusion, some medications are prescribed on a time schedule, or to be taken with food or on an empty stomach. Sometimes they will stop taking a medication because of side effects, or simply forget, and unwittingly neglect inform their healthcare provider.
Medication Safety for The Elderly – Precautions
- Knowledge is king! Learn as much as you can about all of your health conditions and the medications that you or your loved one are taking.
- Make a medication list and maintain it.
- Names of all medications prescribed
- Physician who prescribed each medication
- The reason for each drug and what it is treating
- Frequency and doseage
- If refills are needed and how often
- Try and use only one pharmacy. This will allow your pharmacist to better understand all of your conditions and educate you on your medications and help prevent harmful interactions.
- Store medications safely. Always keep away from children and animals.
- Check expiration dates.
- Always keep in contact with your health care provider. If any questions come up, ask!!
- Always take a family member to appointments to act as a translator of sorts to help manage and ask pertinent questions. Have them as an advocate and advocate for yourself as well!
How Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah can help: We are here to assist with you and your loved one with the highest quality companionship and in-home care. Our highly trained caregivers can assist with medication management and transportation to medical appointments. Any caregiver who enters your home goes through our process of background checks, drug testing, interviews, and references. Reference our services page to learn more. We are also licensed and bonded. If you would like Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah to advocate for you and your loved one, please call us at (435) 669-3704.
Medication Safety for The Elderly Additional Resources:
Fusion Pharmacy in St. George, Utah can assist you and your loved ones with comprehensive service regarding all of your prescriptions. They can check for drug interactions, provide medication counseling, and even offer compounded medication alternatives. They also offer free delivery.
The Golden Heart Promise: We will provide excellent care to our valued Clients, advocate for their rights, and personify the compassion of a Golden Heart. Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah, St. George, Cedar City would be happy to assist you or your loved one with in-home care. Please contact us today for more information on how we can help. You’re in Caring Hands With Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah.