How to Prevent Medication-Related Problems in Seniors
Advancements in modern medicine have greatly influenced health and lifestyle. Millions of people around the globe use prescription and over-the-counter medications to treat and manage different health conditions. Several drugs are used to enhance the quality of life, but sometimes they lead to adverse results. Medication-related problems, including nonadherence and negative side effects, increase the risk of fatal consequences. The number is rising, especially among seniors, augmenting the risk of hospitalization and increased health care costs.
With over four decades of providing excellent facilities at our Hartford retirement home and independent living facility, we understand the medication-related problems that seniors often face. Our specialists have put together this guide to help you learn about the issues and how to avoid them so you can enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
6 Common Medication Problems in Seniors
- Side effects that affect your balance and thinking negatively
- Symptoms that do not improve over time
- Adverse drug interactions
- Medicines that have a more substantial impact on the body than intended
- High costs of medications
- Difficulty managing and consuming the medicines on time
3 Reasons for Increasing Medication Problems
Preference for an Independent Lifestyle
Most seniors prefer to maintain their independence in the later years of life to avoid being dependent on family and friends. Compared to seniors receiving complete care under close supervision in retirement communities, it is more challenging to monitor their medicine intake. Moreover, not having professional assistance to cater to their specific needs may put them more at risk of medication-related problems.
Consumption of Medicines
In addition to the increasing availability of medications, how we use them has changed considerably over the years. The drugs available over the counter and prescriptions are more complex. Polypharmacy, the simultaneous use of multiple medicines by a single patient, is common in seniors with one or more chronic illnesses. It helps to know that the health conditions and the medications prescribed to treat them may have complicated effects on the body. This is why the chances of a medication-related problem increase if you use drugs for a chronic condition.
Lack of Awareness
In addition to over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, herbal products, and even foods and beverages we consume may affect how chemicals in the drugs affect our bodies. There is an increasing need for education and awareness of medication-related concerns to prevent adverse reactions and serious complications.
Why are Seniors at Higher Risk for Medication-Related Problems?
Seniors are more at risk of drug-related issues because of the following characteristics that make them more vulnerable:
- Physiological changes that occur with age increase the risk of medicine-related concerns.
- Aging can impact how an individual human body reacts to the medication.
- You become more susceptible to multiple chronic diseases, leading to different adverse drug reactions in the body.
- With age, you become less efficient in eliminating the medicine from the body due to decreased kidney and liver functions.
- Ineffective coordination and poor information sharing within a health care system can increase the risk. One healthcare provider may be unaware of what other providers prescribe, which may cause complications.
- Buying medicines from more than one pharmacy increases the chances of drug-related issues because the pharmacists are unaware of your specifications.
- Lack of specific training to care for older adults may lead to complications.
- Even when there is proper coordination between health care systems and their professionals, issues may arise due to a lack of scientific evidence about the best treatment for seniors.
- People over 75 are under-represented in clinical trials for new medications. This is why there is a lack of data on appropriate medications for older patients.
Finding the Root Cause of Medication Problems
Every drug works differently within an individual body. You can determine the effectiveness of any prescribed or OTC drug by finding answers to the following questions:
- Is the medicine administered topically, orally, or intravenously?
- What meals and other drugs are you taking?
- Are you consuming the medication with or without food or liquids?
- What other prescriptions, OTC medicines, health supplements do you use?
- Are you fully hydrated?
Hydration affects absorption in the stomach and therapeutic drug levels in the blood.
- Do you have any digestive problems?
It can impact how quickly a medication moves through the digestive system.
- Do you have any kidney-related health issues?
It can affect the therapeutic blood levels and the rate at which the drug is eliminated from the body.
- How does the liver function?
- Do you experience any age-related health conditions or changes?
It determines the severity of the side effects.
Ways to Prevent Medication-Related Problems
- Find out everything about each medicine or health supplement you take. Confirm the information from an authorized source such as a physician or pharmacist.
- Ensure that your healthcare provider has an up-to-date list of all drugs, vitamins, and dietary supplements you take.
- Follow a proper regime consistently and consume medicines as prescribed by the specialist.
- Note down every symptom and inform a medical professional to address the problems.
- Learn about medication management therapy programs from physicians and pharmacists to educate yourself.
Get the Best Care at Our Hartford Retirement Home
At The Holiday Retirement, we understand that medication-related issues are common in seniors. We have qualified staff to help you and offer the best care round the clock. We make sure our residents enjoy a healthy, comfortable, safe, and secure life.
If you wish to stay independently and can manage tasks such as cooking, grooming, and other daily routines, you may choose to live in our independent living community. This way, you can use the amenities we offer while enjoying your freedom in the later years of life.
If you want to know what it is like to become a family member at the Holiday Retirement Community in West Hartford, fill out the online form to book a virtual tour. You can also call us at 1-860-233-8202 if you have any questions about our retirement homes and independent living facility. We’ll be happy to answer them and choose a suitable home for you.