The idea of your father as a drug addict may seem bizarre, but take another look in his medicine cabinet. What do you see? A prescription for chest pain, a little something to calm him down, a pill to aid an upset stomach, medications to keep his blood pressure stable. It’s not uncommon for older people to have more than a single drug.
However, inappropriate drug use among seniors is today’s nation’s rising drug problem. Many seniors are buying and using medications that are warranted, but many are not. This could be the result of prescribing medications used to treat a symptom rather than its underlying cause, continuing the medication even when it isn’t needed anymore or recommending drugs with dangerous combinations. Other times, the blame is on lack of research involving the elderly since they generally can’t tolerate drugs in the same way the younger ones do. Lastly, the elderly themselves could be at fault too for not telling their physicians their symptoms, medical history, or current medications.
If you’re involved in your parent’s care, ask questions when a new drug is prescribed. Keep careful records of the drugs they’re taking in: What is the drug’s name? What is its purpose? When did they first take it in? When should they stop? What are its side effects? Are there any special instructions?
Cyril Senior Care wishes the comfort and safety of your aging parents. Medications, when used inappropriately, can put your parents’ health at risk. So here are some tips to ensure they got a GOOD MEDICINE:
- Always seek a doctor’s approval before making any change in a medication routine. Your parents should not alter the regimen or stop taking a drug because they feel better or are experiencing some side effect.
- Make sure any doctor who sees your parent knows about all their allergies and medications, including any non-prescription drugs they might be taking.
- Your parent may be taking medications, especially over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as antihistamines or sleeping pills, out of habit, unaware of the idea that they’re past their medications consumption. If the pills are addictive, they may need additional help from a physician. Check with them and find out which ones should be stopped or at least taken in lower doses.
- Store pills intended for urgent situations in a place where they can easily be located and utilized.
- Do not allow your parents take a friend’s pills or someone else’s prescription drugs, even if they share the same symptoms with their friend.
- If your parent has skipped a day or two of medications, call the doctor or pharmacist to find out what to do, rather than simply returning to the original routine.
- Don’t crush or break a pill without first securing the approval of the pharmacist. You might destroy a coating that was specifically designed to protect the stomach, or you might upset the long action of a time-released medication.
- Throw out drugs that are old – as a general rule, after one year. (Over-the-counter drugs now have expiration dates on them. Prescription drugs don’t, but the pharmacist will mark the bottle if you ask.)
What tips could you add on the list? We’d like to know! Please share your thoughts on the comment section.
Cyril Senior Care provides exceptional in-home care to our loved ones and peace of mind to their families. With our personalized care plan, your beloved seniors’ well-being is well-protected. Please call (888) 42-CYRIL for more information.