Senior adults are often prescribed multiple medications by their physician to address the illnesses and issues of aging. Yet some seniors do not take the medications as directed. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 55% of the elderly don’t take their medications according to the doctor’s instructions.
Why do the elderly miss doses or not take the prescription correctly? Some of the most common reasons include:
- Not understanding the purpose of the medication, whether that’s because of cognitive decline or inattention during the conversation with the physician. It might be helpful to have a written list of medications, what time they should be taken, and what they do to help the person.
- Vision problems or lack of strength to open the pill bottles may make it difficult to take the medication as prescribed. At some point, many senior adults need help managing medications and caregivers can allocate pills into a container that separates the pills by day, even by time of day.
- Financial constraints could also be a factor as to why seniors are not taking their prescribed medications. Low-income elders may try to split pills, taking less than prescribed in order to make the supply last longer, or skip prescriptions altogether. If you suspect that your senior parent or loved one is skipping doses, ask their pharmacist if a generic brand is available; ask their physician if samples can be provided; and check with local Agencies on Aging or your county’s senior affairs programs can suggest any prescription assistance programs.
Medication adherence is vital to achieving better outcomes for the drug. Helping ensure that medications are taken at the appropriate time and if needed, taken with a bit of food, is one of the tasks that the FootPrints Home Care caregivers provide to our senior home care clients.
Drugs can work differently in older adults so it’s important that any side effects or unusual behavior that happens after taking medications be documented so the family can discuss the issue with the senior’s physician.
At FootPrints Home Care, our goal is to help senior adults live in their own home for as long as possible. We provide hourly or daily care to assist with the activities of daily living, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and the disbursement of medications as scheduled. If we can be of help to you or your family member across the greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe region, give us a call.