It’s no secret that elderly people usually need to take prescription medication to help them deal with chronic illnesses, recover from surgery or to offset the effects of aging. October is Talk About Prescriptions month and it gives healthcare providers and their patients a chance to look at the safety and efficacy of the medication they are currently taking.
Seniors May Struggle With Certain Drugs
Studies show that the average American senior citizen takes five prescription medications. In an effort to increase awareness of how certain prescription medications affect the elderly, Talk About Prescriptions month encourages family caregivers to get involved with senior care experts in the discussions. Seniors depend on prescription drugs to help them stay healthy and well, but there are times when the medications are actually harming them.
Because seniors often take several different drugs at a time, they run the risk of experiencing negative interactions. When drugs are in the body alone, they may work as intended. However, other drugs in the body can change each one’s effectiveness and may even trigger side effects. Some drugs affect seniors differently than they do to other younger adults.
Drugs may act differently in a senior’s body than it does in other adults because they may have a more sluggish circulation, less body fat, decrease in lean body mass, reduced metabolism and higher malnutrition and dehydration levels. Finally, some side effects that show up in seniors are attributed to simply being a part of old age, like confusion or dizziness, instead of a condition that can be improved with medication regulation. All these reasons and more are why Talk About Prescriptions Month was put in place.
Doctors and Talk About Prescriptions Month
Family caregivers need to talk to their elderly relatives about their prescriptions and get to know what it is they are taking, how much they take and when and how they are supposed to take them. Then, they need to schedule a visit to the doctor to talk about those prescriptions. Among the topics to discuss are whether the medication combinations could be causing adverse effects, whether any of the medications are potentially harmful to seniors if there are better alternatives available, and to clarify the proper settings in which the medicine should be taken.
Once the meeting has concluded, family caregivers need to put the information into action. They should get any new prescriptions and properly discard the old medicine. Other family members, senior care aides, and assistants need to be updated as far as the new medicine goes. Caregivers need to ensure the senior is taking the medicine at the right time of day whether with food or not, according to the prescription.
Medicines have the power to make seniors feel happier and healthier by helping their body deal with the effects of aging. However, prescription drugs may also make them sicker and reduce the effectiveness and benefits if they are not properly managed. By using October as Talk About Prescriptions month, seniors can ensure their drugs are working for them and not against them.
If you or a senior family member are considering senior care in Totowa, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today (973) 427-3553.
I started my career as an ICU nurse over 30 years ago. I have functioned as an educator and preceptor mentoring new nurses in the clinical arena. I have sat on many Patient Care committees authoring a variety of patient care protocols.
In 2007, I saw an opportunity to improve the delivery of patient care services in the home and founded Caring Solutions Home Care. Over the last 10 years I have functioned as the Director of Nursing overseeing all client care, administrative and personnel operations.