Healthcare professionals sometimes skimp on the education they give to seniors about medications, thinking the information won’t be remembered or understood. However, there are many reasons seniors are at higher risk for medication complications than other segments of the population. Learn why this type of education is so important.
This term refers to taking multiple medications. As seniors age, the likelihood they’ll be taking many prescriptions as well as supplements and over-the-counter medications greatly increases. However, this also increases their chances of having drug interactions, particularly if the physician isn’t aware of all the medications they’re taking. Educating seniors about possible interactions as well as the importance of telling their physicians about any medication changes can greatly reduce this risk.
Increased Risk for Overdose
There are two things that put seniors at increased risk for overdose. First, if they’re forgetful, they could take an extra dose of a medicine by accident, not realizing it has already been taken. Second, as seniors age, their bodies don’t metabolize and excrete medications as efficiently as before, which means there could be a buildup of medications in their systems, even if medications are being taken correctly. Educating seniors about signs and symptoms of an overdose is thus very important.
For some seniors, failing to take medications correctly can have life-threatening consequences. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Dallas seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Noncompliance can happen when seniors simply forget to take their medications as prescribed. It can also happen when seniors refuse to take their medications. For instance, it’s very common for seniors to be noncompliant about taking diuretics (medications that increase urination) because they don’t want to get up and go to the bathroom frequently. Educating seniors about the dangers of noncompliance is also very important to keep them safe.
Conversations about Medications with Your Loved One
Simply sitting down with your loved one—preferably with a physician or other medical professional present to answer questions—and talking about medications with him or her will give him or her a feeling of being included in the plan of care and allow him or her to discuss doubts or concerns and learn more about the medications in general.
Taking the time to draw up a chart or list of medications your loved one is taking, what those medications are for, and when they need to be taken can be an incredibly useful way to ensure the medications are being taken correctly. Make sure to post it in the area where the medications are kept as well as on the front of the refrigerator for easy reference.
If you aren’t always able to be with your loved one to make sure he or she takes medications correctly, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide medication reminders. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional elder care Dallas seniors can trust and rely on.
Pill packs are one of the simplest and most effective ways to monitor compliance and help seniors handle their own medications independently. Pill packs can be organized by date and time, and they can help seniors keep track of when and what medications are taken. They provide an easy way to avoid medication complications and keep the drugs organized and accessible.
Medication regimens grow increasingly complicated as seniors age, putting them at greater risk for having medication-related complications. However, educating and supporting seniors in regard to their medications through discussions, charts, and pill packs can keep them on track with their plans of care.
Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Dallas senior care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (214) 363-3400.