Forgetfulness is the most common sign of aging, but when memory loss starts to interfere with your physical health, such as forgetting when to take your meds, it becomes a problem of life or death. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 55% of the elderly do not follow the doctor’s prescribed dosage, and research shows that 200,000 seniors end up in the hospital due to adverse drug reactions. Are there other factors leading to the Rx problem for the elderly? A-1 Home Care in Century City considers some of the other circumstances surrounding the drug dilemma:
Reading the Fine Print
Impaired vision comes naturally with aging, and for many elders, misreading instructions on a bottle label will lead to disastrous consequences.
Addiction to Pain Killers
Certain drugs prescribed to relieve insomnia, anxiety, arthritis and other symptoms are extremely popular among seniors and therefore potentially dangerous if misused and abused. Opiates, stimulants and central nervous system (CNS) depressants are among the most commonly abused drugs.
The death of a spouse or another loved one can trigger a person to turn to alcohol to cope with the emotional pain, perhaps three or four times more than his or her usual alcohol intake. The effects of alcohol include impaired memory and emotional instability. If your aging loved one already has some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s, the increased consumption of alcohol would only serve to worsen the symptoms.
When you travel home for the holidays to see your elderly loved ones, pay special attention to signs of prescription drug misuse or abuse. Some signs may be more obvious than others, such as increased confusion, mood changes, and daytime sleepiness. A-1 Home Care in Culver City offers full-time or part-time respite care for seniors who may be at risk for prescription drug misuse. Avoid potential disasters by getting a live-in or live-out caregiver to look after your loved one when you’re not at home if you suspect anything.