How to Avoid Elderly Drug Abuse and Misuse
Elderly and Drugs
It can sometimes be challenging for seniors to admit they need help. This means issues and concerns can sometimes be ignored or glossed over. And for most things, that might be okay, but when it comes to properly taking medications and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to be on top of things.
It’s not uncommon for seniors to take multiple prescription medications at once, on a strict regimen as prescribed by a doctor. Prescription drug abuse or misuse can happen when an elderly patient takes medications in a way that is not prescribed by their doctor. Or, it can happen when taking drugs that are prescribed to someone else or by mixing medications with alcohol.
Why is Prescription Drug Misuse in the Elderly Common?
When medications are taken in a safe and effective way, there is nothing to worry about. But, the issue for the elderly is that most seniors suffering from any kind of prescription drug abuse do so by accident. Because they are more commonly prescribed medications for varying health conditions, they are more likely to misuse them.
As someone ages, their ability to absorb and filter medications slows down. This means the elderly are at a higher risk of having negative side effects from medications or becoming addicted to them at lower doses than younger patients.
Common symptoms and warning signs of elderly drug misuse includes:
- Getting the same prescription filled by several doctors
- Taking more medication than is prescribed or instructed
- Exhibiting signs of forgetfulness or confusion
- Mood changes and social isolation
- Having been treated for an addiction in the past
When to Speak with a Physician
If you suspect that you or a loved one is having issues managing their healthcare prescriptions, it’s important to meet with a doctor. An evaluation will need to happen and potentially a change in the healthcare regimen.
Treatment options vary from person to person. The best way to avoid potential issues with prescription medications is to strictly follow the instructions given by a healthcare provider and to enlist the help of a home healthcare aid or primary caregiver to administer medications each day.
Improve Your Health at McGregor PACE
If you have concerns about managing your prescription medications and following your doctor’s instructions, help is available. At McGregor PACE, our all-inclusive services are provided both in our facilities and in a participant’s home. Our goal is to keep seniors remaining independent for as long as possible.