Posted on: April 8, 2020

A recently available study of over 2,000 older adults reveals that a stunning 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 a routine basis. Monitoring medications in our later years can be extremely difficult, and there are a number of risks and dangers which can develop in the process.

As elder care advisors, we know the importance of encouraging medication compliance for seniors, taking medications when and how they’re prescribed. It’s also vitally important to understand common problems seniors encounter with their prescriptions, and just how to conquer them. For instance:

Occasionally, symptoms continue despite taking medications correctly. Busy medical practitioners may prescribe what is known as a “starter dose” of a medication, which requires follow-up to determine if adjustment is required; but many times, that follow-up never occurs. Make sure you schedule a subsequent visit with the doctor when a brand new medication is prescribed, and ensure the senior keeps that visit.

Adverse reactions might end up being more severe than the condition being treated. Of specific concern are medications that impact a senior’s balance and thinking – escalating the possibility of a fall or some other high risk consequences. Prescriptions to be especially on guard about include anticholinergics, sedatives/tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and opiates. Speak with your doctor if any of these medications are prescribed for an older family member and carefully weigh the potential risks against benefits.

Remaining compliant with medication adherence may be a challenge. Keeping in mind that one particular 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 significantly challenging to take prescriptions precisely when and how they are prescribed. The experts at Alivity Care Advocates can help you enlist the services of a trusted home care agency to help with medication reminders.

Cost may be prohibitive. When cost for a particular prescription is high, older adults might be tempted to cut their dosage amounts to conserve cost – a highly risky behavior. Seniors can instead talk to their physicians about generic versions of medications, or other ways to keep cost at a minimum.

Know about likely interactions with other meds. Bring the full list of every one of the medications your senior loved one is taking to a physician or pharmacist with knowledge in polypharmacy, to confirm that the drugs can safely be taken in combination with one another. Be 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 each of a senior’s medications and view any concerns, which can then be discussed with his / her medical practitioner.

Contact Alivity Care Advocates, the trusted Michigan elder care advisors, at (248) 375-9125 for more medication management tips, as well as professional care management tips designed to keep your senior loved one healthy and safe.