For seniors who take prescription drugs, medication management is a crucial component of maintaining good health. Medical providers may prescribe medications to improve and maintain patient health, but it is often up to patients to adhere to their prescription regimen.
According to a study about medication nonadherence, seniors may not take medication as needed due to a decline in cognitive function. Some seniors may also choose not to take medications that cause bad side effects so they can avoid these unpleasant feelings.
Review this guide to learn more about the obstacles to medication management and how you can overcome them to help the senior you love live a healthy and sustainable life.
When a senior is on a strict medication schedule and exhibits good habits relating to taking these medications properly, they’ll experience a better quality of life. Pain and illness are better managed on a daily basis. It’s also easier for medical providers to regulate a senior’s health when they know the medications they take regularly.
Seniors that display poor medication management could experience withdrawal symptoms from not taking certain drugs regularly. If a senior is under the care of a nursing home and medication isn’t managed properly, it may be grounds for legal action against the nursing home for senior abuse or even medical malpractice depending on the circumstances. When medication isn’t managed properly, the senior’s health is put at risk, which could lead to the exacerbation of chronic medical conditions or even wrongful death.
Keeping medications organized helps prevent seniors from accidentally skipping their medications or overdosing on prescriptions.
You can implement several strategies to ensure a senior keeps medication organized, including the following:
As a caring family member, it’s important to speak with the senior’s primary care provider. Review medication labels so you can learn about side effects the senior may experience. You should feel confident in identifying which side effects are normal and which ones may need to be investigated.
It’s also important to discuss potential drug interactions with the senior’s medical provider. Offer the senior’s doctor a list of other medications and vitamins the senior may take to ensure there aren’t any undesired reactions between the chemicals in these medications and supplements.
It’s also important to discuss the dangers of mixing medications. If the doctor warned you about any medications that don’t interact well, write them down so the senior doesn’t accidentally mix them together. Be sure the senior doesn’t have access to drugs that could negatively interact with the medications they currently take.
Learning about a medication’s side effects allows you and the senior to prepare for what may happen when a drug is taken regularly.
Some of the most common senior medications and their side effects include the following:
It’s important to know which drugs interact poorly with each other so you can avoid a dangerous medical situation. Consult with your senior’s health professional to learn about potential drug interactions and what to look out for.
Some of the most common unhealthy drug interactions include the following:
Older bodies process medications and substances differently so there are some medications that seniors should avoid.
According to the 2019 Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults, seniors should avoid several drugs, such as:
Communicating with your senior about the importance of medication management will help them to navigate this issue in a serious manner. Discuss the dangers of self-prescribing and emphasize the importance of consulting with a medical provider before taking any medication or vitamin supplements.
If possible, narrow down the number of medical professionals and specialists the senior visits. This will decrease miscommunication between medical providers and reduce errors in medication management.
Monitoring prescriptions and doctor visit schedules are also crucial to your senior’s health. Be sure they’re visiting medical professionals when necessary and that their prescriptions are up-to-date.
If you suspect malpractice from a doctor or neglect from a nursing home, you may need to seek assistance from an injury lawyer to pursue legal action. To keep your loved one healthy and thriving, follow medication management protocol and ensure they’re taking care of themselves on a daily basis.
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