Drugs form a crucial part of medical intervention, particularly in chronic disease management. Medications increase the patients’ lifespan while optimizing their functionality.
In the United States alone, almost 50% of seniors in their 70s and 25% of older adults over 65 take five prescription medications, at the least.
It is because of the prevalence of chronic illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure is found in the older population.
The following are 5 common medication problems in seniors along with their solutions:
1. Problems with Scheduling Medications
It’s certainly not easy. Visiting various hospitals, consulting multiple doctors, and taking different medications.
One of the most prominent problems with elderly medication management is difficulty remembering when you are supposed to take them.
“Was it on an empty stomach or after a meal?” you find yourself confused quite often.
Your care specialists at AdvantagePlusNurses will thus plan your medication schedule and ensure that you never miss a dose!
We will send timely reminders through the MyHealthRecords app and help you organize your medicines by date and time.
2. Cost of Medication
Cost is another barrier to effective elderly medication management. Even though Medicare Part D covers your prescription drug expenses, the costs can still add up every month.
Seniors with limited financial resources cannot bear the cost of medication. If you are undergoing something a similar ordeal, consult your doctor if you can switch to a cheaper yet equally potent alternative.
A healthcare professional can advise you to discontinue a specific medication if it has not been working well and increase the expenses instead.
3. Harmful Drug Interactions
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people aged 65 years or older have to go through about 450,000 emergency hospital visits every year across the United States.
Most of these visits are due to harmful drug interactions. Hence, managing senior citizen medication is imperative to prevent those.
Create a Log
To protect yourself against a potentially dangerous drug interaction, it’s best to create a log of your medications. Every time you visit a pharmacist or a doctor, take this medicine log with you.
Apart from brand names and generic names, you should also mention the herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and counter medications in the list, if any.
4. Potential Side Effects
The fourth one on our list of elderly medication problems is side effects. Many doctors treating chronic disease patients are not aware of the prescriptions given by other doctors.
In case you had an allergic reaction, mention that in the medicine log, we talked about in the previous section.
There are ways by which you can prevent specific side effects:
- Store the medicines properly (some need to be refrigerated, some are kept in a dark environment)
- Avoid the consumption of illicit drugs and alcohol (inform your doctor to check for interactions and side effects)
- Notify your caregiver and the care team of your allergies
- Take your medication as directed (empty stomach/with food)
- Never take medication that is not approved by your doctor
5. Symptoms Persist Despite Treatment
Persistent symptoms are one of the most common medication problems in seniors. Those symptoms may still linger if you are taking medication for depression, incontinence, heartburn, and pain.
In that case, you should always follow-up with your care team and doctors. Primary care visits can get busy, and this is something that keeps getting postponed.
However, neglecting these persistent symptoms is not a good idea.
By implementing the solutions mentioned above, you can minimize the burdens as well as risks associated with medication management.