As the family caregiver to a loved one who is disabled and diabetic, the catalyst that sprung me into action was seeing in shock and horror the mismanagement of multiple meds. Everything from not taking meds as prescribed, over and/or undertaking meds, to continue to take meds after changes to doctors orders, I learned the more meds that are prescribed the more important medication management became.
When thinking about our senior community, a study found that forty-one percent of seniors, aged 65 and older take five or more prescription medications, and more than half has 2 or more prescribing physicians.
Of course, many common prescriptions are characterized as high-risk medications for people 65+. “These drugs can have serious health consequences when not taken correctly or not monitored. This includes commonly prescribed medications for diabetes, hormone replacement therapy, urinary tract infections, allergies, heart and gastrointestinal conditions, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs”.
The older we get and the more health challenges we face, the more medications we take. As well, the more meds we take, the greater the risks with mixing multiple meds, one being a contributing factor in falls. It’s important to note that the leading cause of injury-related deaths in older adults is falling. There is also the risk incurred with side effects, including dizziness, mental confusion, appetite problems and more.
As the family caregiver to my loved one, I assumed that medications were being taken as prescribed but after diving a little deeper, I was WRONG. Don’t assume that what your parent, family member, or spouse is telling you true or accurate information. Go through all the bottles of medications and take the time to find out what condition each medication is treating.
You should also take the time to find out why medications may not be taken correctly. Are they have difficulty understanding the instruction? Maybe they don’t understand why they have to take certain meds. Maybe the meds are difficult to take or they have difficulty remembering.
Whatever the reasons, it is best to get involved and/or hire caregivers who can help. There are several methods to help one stay organized from simple pill boxes to automated systems and apps that send reminders. The mismanagement of meds can have dire consequences. Find a system that works best for everyone so you can rest easier.