Medications can affect a senior’s cognitive ability, emotional stability, and balance. Some of the most common side effects of medication can be drowsiness, forgetfulness, anxiousness and depression. Oftentimes, as seniors experience these side effects, they automatically assume it is part of the normal aging process. Adding alcohol can exacerbate the problem and in some cases result in a deadly combination.
According to Mary Weathers, a Franchise Owner and Registered Nurse with Always Best Care Senior Services in Flagler County, Florida, seniors are more likely to experience chronic health problems, increasing their likelihood to utilize prescription drugs and overthe- counter supplements. Weathers, goes on to say that a combination of medications can create a higher risk for side effects. She also says that as our bodies age, organ function and blood circulation begin to slow and we tend to have more body fat. These changes allow drugs to stay in the body longer, increasing the chances of side effects.
Another common problem for seniors is that deteriorating eyesight can make prescription labels or package descriptions hard to read. This can lead to improper dosage, and as a result, can cause problems when medications are not taken properly. In addition, a senior who is taking several drugs or has cognitive impairment may forget to take medications or might not even know when they took their last dose. Dan Gregory, who is a Certified Senior Advisor and Franchise Owner with Always Best Care Senior Services in Wake Forest, North Carolina, recommends utilizing a drug organizer, which is a pill container that has separate pockets for each day. Dan goes on to say that helping a senior with a care plan is crucial. Communication between the senior, family, caregiver, physician, and pharmacist can help eliminate potential problems.
Medications are necessary as we age. However, some pain and emotional medications come with a high risk of dependency. Seniors can experience stress, anxiety, and depression just like anyone else. Seniors can help curb their dependence or addiction for some medications by sticking to routines such as regular bedtimes, wake-up times, consistent meal times, regular physical activity, and regular social activities. Discuss with your doctor any prescription use along with over-the-counter medications to ensure that you are not creating a recipe for disaster. Always be mindful of the expiration date of your medications. Out of date prescriptions can spoil, losing their effect or even become more potent intensifying their side effects.
Finally, if a senior is seeing several doctors or specialists, they should educate their physician on all the medications they are taking. It is always a good idea to take medications with you to your doctor’s appointments. This will allow doctors to be cognizant of a senior’s current medications before prescribing another that could cause unhealthy drug interactions.
If you or a family member, senior or otherwise, has an upcoming appointment with a Physician or Pharmacist, great questions to understand and ask before taking prescriptions or over-the-counter medications include the following.
??Why am I taking this drug? ??Is this drug necessary? ??How and when should I take this drug? ??What are the side effects? ??What are the interactions with alcohol and other drugs? ??How long will I be on this medication?
A better understanding of how medications can affect seniors along with a proper care plan will ultimately lead to better medicine for seniors. For more information on this subject, contact a Care Coordinator at any of the individually owned and operated Always Best Care Offices located throughout the country. To find the Always Best Care Senior Services office nearest you, please visit www.alwaysbestcare.com.
Always Best Care Senior Services, provides complete senior care, in home health services and a complete care plan for senior’s health including assisted living community placement for seniors. For more details visit us at http://www.alwaysbestcare.com/