Older Adults and Medication Management (1)

Older Adults and Medication Management

Medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter, can help adults manage pain, chronic conditions, or acute illness. However, when a medication regimen begins to become more overwhelming due to remembering which medications to take at what time during the day, the risk for medication errors can increase. A medication error can have serious health ramifications, sending older adults to the hospital at an alarming rate. Fortunately, the more you know about proper medication management, the better you can ensure your loved one will stay healthy.

Too Many Medications?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 70% of adults aged 40-79 used at least one prescription medication in the past month. As adults age, their medication list grows. More than 20% of all older adults take at least five prescription medications daily, with the average older adult taking four prescription medicines every day. To make matters more complicated, these statistics do not include over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or supplements.

Medication Management Dangers

An adverse drug event, or ADE, is a term used to describe any time a medication harms a person. The risk of having an adverse drug event increases with the number of medications you take and your age. Approximately 450,000 emergency room visits are attributed to seniors who have made a medication error and are experiencing an ADE, which is about double the rate of their younger peers.

Adverse drug events are serious and all too common. Managing a complex medication schedule, for example, can create the perfect environment for an error. Most adults tend to take the wrong medications, the wrong dose or take medications at the wrong time. However, there can also be problems when medications interact with one another or with a vitamin, supplement, or over-the-counter medicine.

Medication Management Solutions

Medication errors can result in serious consequences, but you can safeguard your loved one by trying any of these solutions:

  • Note any side effects from medications right away. 
  • Have your pharmacist review your loved one’s medication list to see if there are any conflicting prescriptions or possible interactions.
  • Consider a digital pillbox system that gives an alarm when it is time to take medications.
  • Schedule a reminder to check in on your loved one during their medication time, such as a quick morning and dinner call. You can visit and offer a reminder to take their medications while they are on the phone.

Perhaps the best solution to medication management concerns is to invest in senior living. Many lifestyle options offer medication management assistance, including assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. For those living in an independent living setting, medication management assistance can be brought into the home, giving the adult and their loved one peace of mind.

At The Glen, we are happy to provide medication management assistance to those we serve under assisted living at The Stiles Apartments. In addition to ensuring residents are receiving the right medications at the right time, our assistance also includes monitoring for any potential interactions as well as communicating with the physician and pharmacy when needed.

We would love to answer any questions you might have about our medication management program or any other service. Contact us today to learn more.

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