Research demonstrates that the elderly want to stay in their homes as long as possible. Yet the older a loved one gets, the more difficult independence becomes. We believe companion care can help. Over the coming weeks we will discuss how companion caregivers can help overcome 10 major challenges faced by the elderly and by their families and loved ones. Please contact us at 888-791-8449 or Stay at Home if you have questions or would like more information.
The average 65-year-old takes nearly 14 prescriptions in a year. For an 80-year-old, that number jumps to 18. Usually these meds have to be taken under very specific circumstances, and they should always be managed carefully in order to prevent unwanted and potentially dangerous side effects.
Considering the complexity involved, then, it should be no wonder that failure to take medications properly is a major reason for hospital admissions among the elderly. To make matters worse, it is also a major factor in falls that also send the elderly to the hospital.
The MetLife Mature Market Institute notes that many common medications increase the risk of a dangerous fall:
A medication used for high blood pressure might result in lowering blood pressure too suddenly with a change in position, causing lightheadedness, dizziness, or weakness. Antidepressants, sleep medications, or tranquilizers can cause changes in mental status and alertness, as well as excessive fatigue. It’s important to consider side effects of both prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements as well as the interactions medications may have when taken together.
It’s vitally important that your loved one’s doctors and pharmacists are aware of all the medications he or she is using, including over-the-counter medications. It’s often just as important that seniors have the help and encouragement they need to keep track of what can become a very complicated medication schedule.
That’s where a companion caregiver can help. We’re not the medical professionals deciding what your loved needs to be taking and when. We’re the friendly caregivers who watch that they stay on schedule. For example, your mother might take one medication at 9 in the morning, another at noon, another before bed, and another between meals. Tylenol might be a no-no because it interferes with one of the medications, and antihistamines might be out for the same reason.
It would be confusing for anyone to keep up with that kind of medication schedule. But it’s not too hard with the help of a friend.