Seniors and Their Medication

“>allaboutestates, March 6, 2012 by Audrey Miller:
I was going to blog about the delisting of OxyContin however the topic of seniors and pain medications is of greater concern. Many seniors are over medicated and perhaps just as many may be under medicated. The issue is one that requires a fine balance; being sufficiently medicated to keep symptoms manageable. During home visits, other counselors, social workers and elder care consultants would agree that we frequently report that many seniors keep vials of old prescriptions in the house. Check the bathroom, night table and kitchen cupboards. When I review client’s medication and ask to see their prescriptions bottle, they will often return with a shoe box of pills and vials and containers of days and infections gone by.
A few suggestions:
*Old prescriptions should be returned to the pharmacy for proper disposal. They SHOULD NOT BE FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET OR PLACED IN THE GARBAGE. This causes risk and potential for abuse and illness that is harmful. Like any potential hazardous material, they need to be disposed of properly.
*Medications have been prescribed for a specific reason. The all come with directions on how and when to take the drug. If the doctor has not reviewed it or if the directions are not understood or remembered, your local pharmacist can explain it again.
*Dossettes- a handy pill container that typically gets filled weekly (preferably by a responsible individual) and is divided by days of the week and time of day. Mistakes can still be made.
*A good alternative is the use of bubble packing. These ‘blisterpacks’ are filled, labeled and sealed by the pharmacy and are secured in little plastic ‘bubbles’ that can easily be pushed open. I have been told that some arthritic fingers may have difficulty.
Check with your local pharmacy to see if they offer this service; it is typically available at a nominal fee.
While the benefits of taking medications hopefully outweigh the negative side-effects that might accompany them; the side effects deserve mention of their own. It is important the whoever is taking and giving the medications fully understand what difficulties might be expected so that they can watch their reactions carefully. Again your pharmacist can assist in explaining these side effects. It is important that they be reported to the prescribing physician as soon as possible.
Medicines need to be taken as prescribed. If you are having difficulties managing your own medicine regime or those of a loved one, perhaps it is time to consider getting some assistance.

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