While we know that medications are very often life-saving, we’ve also heard plenty of alarming stories of patients who mistakenly received an incorrect medication – either because of a miscommunication with the prescribing physician or the pharmacy. Yet there’s inherent risk to taking any medication: substance misuse.
Just as it would be extremely dangerous to drive the wrong way on a one-way highway, medication misuse is equally concerning. In fact, it’s even MORE alarming, with over 100,000 people each year dying from prescription mismanagement – a full twice the number killed in vehicle accidents. The following types of medication mistakes occur all too frequently:
- Neglecting to pick up prescribed medications or refills
- Skipping a dose (or multiple doses)
- Mistakenly taking another family member’s medication
- Taking too much of a medication
- Stopping a medication before the doctor advises
- Improperly using medication administering devices, such as syringes or inhalers
- Taking medication that is past its expiration date
Medication management can be especially challenging for older adults who take a variety of different prescription as well as over-the-counter medications. Live Free Home Health Care shares some of the top challenges seniors experience with medication adherence, and tips to help with each:
- Memory Loss: Loss of memory is a critical factor in seniors being able to take prescriptions routinely as prescribed. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can either forget to take their medications, or forget that they’ve already taken them and end up taking multiple doses.
- Medication Management Tip: Pill dispensers are a wonderful way to keep track of medications taken. A family member can set the dispensers up for his or her senior loved one, and provide oversight to ensure that meds are taken at the correct time each day.
- Trouble with Swallowing: Especially with larger tablets and capsules, swallowing pills can be challenging for some older adults.
- Medication Management Tip: Although it may seem like a good idea to crush or cut pills to make them easier to swallow, this should never be done without the doctor’s approval. If they must be taken whole, check to see if the medication can be dispensed in either liquid form or in smaller pill sizes.
- Transportation Difficulties: One common issue with seniors is simply being unable to drive to pick up prescriptions and refills.
- Medication Management Tip: Mail order prescriptions may be an option, or engage the services of an in-home care professional, such as those at Live Free Home Health Care, to pick up prescriptions for the senior on a routine basis.
Proper medication management is crucial for older adults to remain healthy and safe. For more tips and assistance with ensuring your senior loved ones are taking medications correctly, and to learn more about our expert New Hampshire home care services for seniors, contact Live Free Home Health Care at 603-217-0149.