Although it’s certainly true that medications can be life-saving, we’ve also heard a number of shocking accounts of patients who erroneously took an incorrect medicine – either because of a miscommunication with the prescribing medical professional or the pharmacy. Yet there’s inherent danger to taking any drugs: substance misuse.
Much like it would be exceedingly treacherous to drive the wrong direction on a one-way highway, medication misuse is equally concerning. In fact, it’s really MORE worrisome, with in excess of 100,000 individuals annually dying as a result of prescription mismanagement – a full twice the number killed in auto collisions. The following kinds of medication management mistakes take place all too often:
- Failing to pick up prescribed medications or refills
- Neglecting to take a dose (or a number of doses)
- Erroneously taking another individual’s prescription
- Taking too much of a medication
- Stopping a medication before the physician advises
- Inappropriately using medication administering devices, such as syringes or inhalers
- Using medication that is past its expiration date
Medication management can be extremely complicated for older adults who often take a wide array of different prescriptions as well as over-the-counter medications. Hearts at Home reveals some of the top challenges older adults experience with medication adherence, and recommendations to help with each:
- Memory Loss: Loss of memory is a crucial component in seniors being able to take medications continually as prescribed. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can either forget about taking their prescriptions, or forget that they have already taken them and end up taking too many dosages.
- Medication Management Tip: Medicine dispensers are a wonderful way to account for medications taken. A family member can set the dispenser up for his or her older loved one, and give oversight to confirm that meds are taken at the appropriate time every day.
- Trouble with Swallowing: Specifically with larger pills, swallowing medications can be difficult for some older individuals.
- Medication Management Tip: While it might seem like a good idea to break up or cut pills to make them simpler to swallow, this should never be done without the prescribing doctor’s authorization. If they need to be taken whole, find out if the medication can be dispensed in either liquid form or in smaller sized pills.
- Medication Management Tip: Mail order prescriptions could be an option, or engage the services of an in-home care specialist, such as those at Hearts at Home, to pick up prescriptions for the older adult on a routine basis.Transportation Struggles: One typical issue with older adults is merely being unable to drive to pick up medications and prescription refills.
Accurate medication management is essential for seniors to remain healthy and safe. For more resources and assistance with ensuring your older loved ones are taking medications correctly, and to learn more about our expert Overland Park home care services for seniors, contact Hearts at Home at 913-440-4209.