Medication Management Strategies You Can Implement Today to Keep Seniors Safe
All of us recognize that medications can save lives, but most of us have heard frightening stories about patients who have received incorrect medication – either as a consequence of an issue with the physician or pharmacy. What many people don’t consider is that there is a concealed hazard even when we get the correct medication — the risk of non-adherence.
Similar to driving down the wrong side of the road, incorrect medication management is dangerous. In fact, it is more so — as many as 125,000 people die every year due to prescription medication non-adherence, double the number who die in auto accidents. Although many people might think they are following the rules when it comes to their medications, medication adherence mistakes arise frequently. These mistakes include:
- Failure to fill or refill a prescribed drug
- Missing one or multiple dosages
- Taking the wrong medication
- Taking more medication than prescribed
- Prematurely discontinuing medication
- Improper use of items such as inhalers or syringes
- Taking expired, damaged, or incorrectly stored medications
Medication adherence can be an exceptionally big problem among older adults who take a variety of prescription drugs. However, evidence suggests that, with the proper motivation, education, and assistance, older adults are able to break through many barriers to medication adherence. The following are a number of techniques to assist with typical causes of medication non-adherence.
Loss of Memory: A major issue when it comes to medication adherence among aging individuals is memory loss. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can forget to take their medications or even take multiple doses, having forgotten that they took the medication earlier on.
Strategy: Make taking medication a part of a different daily routine, using pill dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.
Difficulty Swallowing Pills: Some seniors have difficulty swallowing, and may attempt to chew up or crush tablets, triggering long-acting drugs to be released into the body too quickly.
Strategy: Talk to the individual’s doctor or pharmacist to determine if the medicine is obtainable in a liquid or smaller pill form that is less difficult to swallow.
Transportation Issues: Some elderly individuals may be homebound or are unable to drive or easily access transportation and cannot regularly pick up prescriptions.
Strategy: Ask the drugstore about mail order medications that can be mailed to the home, or hire an in-home caregiver, like those at Hired Hands Homecare, to supply transportation to the pharmacy, as well as doctors’ appointments and other outings.
Taking prescription medications the right way is fundamental to your senior loved one’s health, and proper medication management is a must to keep older adults safe. If you have a loved one who is struggling with one of these barriers or any other hindrance in adhering to medications, contact the North Bay home care experts at Hired Hands Homecare today at (866) 940-4343. We can help you create medication management strategies for success!