We all recognize that medications can save lives, but most of us have heard alarming stories about patients who have been given incorrect medication – either due to an issue with the health care provider or pharmacy. What many people don’t think about is that there is a hidden risk even when we get the correct medication — the danger of non-adherence.
As with driving down the wrong side of the road, using a prescription improperly is dangerous. For that matter, it is more so — 125,000 individuals die every single year attributable to prescription medication non-adherence, two times the number who die in car accidents. While many people might think they are following the rules when it comes to their prescription medications, elderly medication errors happen frequently. These mistakes include:
- Failure to fill or refill a prescribed medication
- Missing one or more dosages
- Taking the wrong medication
- Taking more of the prescription than prescribed
- Prematurely stopping medication
- Improper use of equipment such as inhalers or syringes
- Taking outdated, damaged, or inappropriately stored medications
Medication adherence can be an especially significant problem among older adults who take numerous prescription drugs. However, research shows that, with the proper motivation, knowledge, and assistance, elders are able to conquer many barriers to medication adherence. The following are a few tactics to assist with typical causes of medication non-adherence.
Memory Loss: A major issue when it comes to medication adherence among aging individuals is memory loss. Individuals 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 component of a daily routine, using pill dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.
Problems with Swallowing Pills: Some older adults have trouble swallowing, and might try to chew up or crush pills, which causes long-acting drugs to be released into the body too fast.
Strategy: Talk to the person’s physician or pharmacist to see if the medicine is obtainable in a liquid or smaller tablet form that is less difficult to swallow.
Transportation Issues: Some elderly individuals may be homebound or are not able to drive or easily access transportation and cannot consistently pick up prescriptions.
Strategy: Ask the drugstore about mail order medications that can be sent to the home, or hire an in-home caregiver, like those at Regency Home Care, to provide transportation to the pharmacy, as well as doctors’ appointments and other outings.
Taking prescription medications the correct way is essential to your senior loved one’s health. Taking prescription medications incorrectly is hazardous. If you have a loved one who is encountering one of these barriers or any other hindrance in adhering to medications, contact our expert caregivers in Atlanta at Regency Home Care today at 678.999.2446. With our medication oversight services, we can help you create medication management strategies for success!