By Alice Endy
The ability of the elderly to manage their medications is often a
concern to the family. These concerns of the family often become
a point of contention between themselves and the elder. At what
point does the family step in?
I am a big believer of trusting your instincts--there is a reason
you are concerned. You did not worry about your parents ability
when they were healthy and strong in their 60's or 70's.
Something has you thinking there is a problem now. Trust that !!!
Thirty five percent --read that again---thirty five percent --of
hospital admissions of the elderly are related to either medication
non-compliance, under-medicating, or over medicating.
125,000 elderly DIE each year due to medication
By age sixty five, two thirds of all seniors have two or more
chronic conditions requiring prescription medications.
By age eighty, 70% of elders have several chronic conditions:
High Blood Pressure
Each chronic condition that is diagnosed adds an additional
medication or two. This is a way of life for the elderly and is
often too large a task for them to handle without support.
Side effects of these medications and interactions with each
other require the ongoing study of an alert mind.
Elders need to be informed about each medication:
Over the counter medications are often used by the elderly
along with vitamins, minerals, laxatives, herbs and pain
remedies. Many of these over the counter medications were
once prescription medications with potential drug interactions
and side effects.
Many people do not understand the importance of informing
their physican of all over the counter medications that they
take routinely or occasionally. By not being informed, physicians
do not have the opportunity to relay drug inter action information
and in fact may be adding a drug that is similar to an over the
counter medication already being taken--over dosing!!
Each time a new prescription or over the counter medicine is
added to the regiment, there is an increase in potenial side
effects or intereactions thus creating an increase in safety
issues. Less than thirty percent of older adults take their
medication correctly. Please read that again--less than 30%
take their medications correctly!!!
Family involvement is imperative if there is any possibility
that your elder is forgetful or confused. If the elder is unable
to relate the purpose of each medication what condition it
is treating when it is taken then your intervention is necessary.
There are many ways to individualize the medication regiment
for your elder. You will know in which area of the process they
need assistance. Please allow them their dignity in choosing
where they need help. There are many ways to provide this
Obtain easy open bottles from the pharmacy.
Ask for large print labels.
Ask for different color medication bottles for specific medications.
Use a pill organizer-7 days-breakfast-lunch- dinner-bedtime.
If able, allow the elder to fill the med box-with supervision.
You fill the medication box. I have four boxes and fill them once a month.
Creat a chart if opposed to a pill box.
Daily reminder phone calls from you.
Regardless of the method you and your elder choose, the most
important issue is attendance at all doctor's appointments.
Someone needs to go with the frail elder to each and every
appointment even if it means hiring a local private duty
agency. Have your elder assigned to a specific nurse. The
nurse will accompany your elder, get new prescriptions filled,
make follow up appointments, fill the med box, and even call
you with a report. You can get everything you need done.
Money well spent!!!
More information regarding this and other topics may be found at http://www.AskNurseAlice.com
Dedicated To Eldercare
Alice Endy is a Registered Nurse with a certification in Gerontology.
Alice has spent her entire career in the field of eldercare.
Being a sought after speaker and consutant , she spends most of her time researching
trends and changes in eldercare.