Is your loved one taking their medications correctly?
According to a recent Gallup poll, 88% of seniors over age 65 take prescription medication. And most seniors in that age group take anywhere from 5-9 medications daily. That is a lot of medication to manage on a daily basis, not to mention if a husband or wife is managing medication for the both of them. The Center for Disease Control states that “up to 50% of prescribed medications are taken incorrectly, particularly with regard to timing, dosage, frequency and duration”.
Some of the reasons seniors aren’t taking their medications are:
- Cost- some seniors struggle to pay the rising cost for their prescriptions, especially while living on a fixed income. This leads to cutting back the dosage to make it go farther or not taking it at all. Ask the pharmacist about generic brands and if they accept any of the free prescription discount cards like Good Rx, which can help save money.
- Swallowing trouble – many seniors find it difficult to swallow larger pills, and sometimes swallowing becomes difficult due to certain conditions like Parkinson’s disease. Ask your pharmacist whether your medications can be crushed- if so, stir into a small amount of applesauce or yogurt to help it slide down more easily.
- Fear – many seniors read the warning labels and are worried about potential side effects or a medication creating a new medical problem. Share your concerns with your doctor or pharmacist so they can advise you on the potential of having a reaction to the specific medications, as well as the risk of not taking them.
- Vision – so often seniors’ vision is poor and it is difficult for them to distinguish one small pill from another. Having a trusted caregiver can help make sure the senior is taking the intended medication. A caregiver can also read the precautions and possible side effects before taking.
- Memory issues – forgetfulness or confusion contributes to many seniors not taking their medications. Often they think they already took it, or sometimes they take it twice because they forgot they already took it. Confusing which medication is which can also lead to trouble. Nowadays there are companies that can consolidate your medications into packets; each packet is clearly labeled as to the date and time it should be taken as well as exactly what medications and dose are in the clear packet. This takes the guess work out of it. While there are other secure pill boxes that have any alarm that goes off and the door opens when it’s time for your scheduled meds. One of the best ways to make sure your loved one is taking their medications correctly is to have a trusted home care service there to remind your loved one to take their medication at the scheduled time.
Making sure your loved one takes all of their prescribed medication as ordered goes a long way in keeping them healthy and out of the hospital. If you know someone who could use help at home with medication reminders, please call Sisters for Seniors at (941) 882-2203; we are here to help!