While we know that medications are quite often life-saving, we’ve also heard a number of startling stories of individuals who wrongly took an incorrect medication – either because of a mistake with the prescribing medical practitioner or the drug store. Yet there is inherent risk to taking any medicine: substance misuse.
In the same way it would be exceedingly harmful to drive the wrong way on the interstate, medication misuse is equally concerning. In fact, it’s really MORE worrisome, with in excess of 100,000 individuals annually losing their lives as a result of prescription mismanagement – a full double the number killed in automotive collisions. The following kinds of medication management errors happen all too frequently:
- Forgetting to pick up prescribed medications or refills
- Neglecting to take a dose (or multiple doses)
- Mistakenly taking another person’s prescription
- Taking too much of a medication
- Ceasing to take a medication before the physician advises
- Inappropriately using medication administering devices, such as syringes or inhalers
- Using medicine that is past its expiration date
Medication management can be particularly complicated for the elderly who commonly take a wide variety of different prescriptions as well as over-the-counter medications. Enhanced Home Care reveals some of the greatest challenges seniors experience with medication adherence, and recommendations to help with each:
- Memory Issues: Memory loss is a critical factor in older adults being able to take prescriptions routinely as prescribed. Those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can either forget about taking their prescriptions, or forget that they have already taken them and end up taking multiple dosages.
- Medication Management Tip: Medicine dispensers are a great way to track medications taken. A household member can set the dispenser up for his or her senior loved one, and give supervision to make sure that meds are taken at the appropriate time on a daily basis.
- Swallowing Problems: Particularly with larger pills, swallowing medications can be challenging for some older individuals.
- Medication Management Tip: Though it may seem like a good idea to break up or cut pills to make them easier to swallow, this should never be done without the doctor’s consent. If they need to be taken whole, check to see if the medicine can be provided instead in either liquid form or in smaller pill sizes.
- Transportation Struggles: One prevalent issue with seniors is merely being unable to drive to pick up medications and prescription refills.
- Medication Management Tip: Prescriptions delivered by mail can sometimes be an option, or enlist the services of an in-home care professional, such as those at Enhanced Home Care, to pick up prescriptions for the person on a routine basis.
Appropriate medication management is vital for older individuals to stay healthy and safe. For more strategies and assistance with assuring your elderly loved ones are taking medications correctly, and to learn more about our expert Kansas City home health care services for seniors, contact Enhanced Home Care at 913-327-0000.