Boost Awareness During Talk About Prescriptions Month
October is Talk About Prescriptions Month and it’s the perfect time for elderly men and women, as well as their family caregivers, to focus on their prescription medications and review how they are doing and whether anything needs to be changed. Doctors are always happy to hold discussions with patients that boost awareness, education, and solving problems. Talk About Prescription Month is the perfect catalyst to bring the topic of prescriptions to the forefront.
Drugs Can Help and Harm Seniors.
Nearly a third of all prescription medications in the United States are for elderly adults. Also, the average senior is taking five different drugs at one time. Usually these are to help them deal with chronic conditions developed late in life or the effects of aging upon their body. Sometimes the medications help with illnesses, infections, and more. In fact, prescription medication can often be credited with extending the elderly population’s quality of life and keeping them healthier and happier.
It’s a mistake for doctors and other health care providers to think that prescription medications affect seniors the same way as other younger adults. In fact, there are a number of considerations that should be given to prescription drugs for seniors:
- Drug interactions may trigger side effects in seniors that might not appear on their own.
- Seniors have a different physiology that can affect how drugs work, because they usually have less body fat and lean body mass, slower metabolism, less body water, and slower circulation.
- Medication side effects are often chalked up to typical “old age” when they are specifically linked to the drugs. Common examples are dizziness, forgetfulness, excessive thirst, and fatigue.
- Seniors may not even be in charge of their medication and may rely on family caregivers, senior care assistants, family members, and others to administer them. It’s easy for them to be taken at the wrong time of day or without food, lessening their effect.
- Some prescription medications that aren’t currently working or are causing side effects may be substituted for another kind, but doctors don’t know to do that because the senior has not discussed their problems.
Family caregivers need to take advantage of Talk About Prescriptions Month and schedule a doctor’s appointment for themselves and their elderly relatives to review all the prescription medications being taken. Everyone should be clear on the name and dosage of the medication, why the senior is taking it, how to take it properly, and what the side effects are. With luck, everything is going well and there’s no need to change anything. However, it’s very common for doctors to make modifications to existing prescriptions, provide clarification about dosage or how to take the pills properly. All this information should be shared with relevant family members, senior care assistants, adult day care workers, and anyone else that assists or reminds the elderly relative about their pills.
The more information that seniors and their caregivers get about prescription medication, the better they will be able to manage their use and eliminate harmful side effects that could erode health and wellness.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Hamilton, NJ or the surrounding areas, please call Independence Home Care today at 609-208-1111 for more information.