Elderly home health care is a growing industry. As we age, it is more and more important that we age in familiar surroundings, near our family and friends. Medication safety is a major concern as we age at home. Our aging bodies respond differently to medications than they did when we were younger. Many aging adults see multiple doctors and take an array of pills. Experts suggest that the average aging adult actually takes between four to six medications a day. Along with those medications, many are taking vitamins, natural supplements and herbs. It is important to understand that each medication we take as we age can increase our chances for an adverse reaction.
Elderly home health care and medication safety is one of the major problems of concern for family members and physicians alike. The biggest problem with medications as we age is three fold.
- The first factor is multiple medications, herbs, natural supplements and vitamins can cause a drug interaction. This is an adverse effect to one or more of the drugs you are taking.
- The second common factor to medication safety is the time it takes your body to metabolize the drug in your system. If you are taking a drug over time, it may build up in your system, resulting in too much medication in your body. The most common sign that there is an adverse reaction to a medication is change in mental status. Simply put, the aging adult may exhibit periods of confusion, mood changes, excessive drowsiness, poor coordination.
- The third factor that plays a role in elder home care and medication safety is not taking the medications as prescribed. Missing doses, taking another dose because you are not sure you took it, or not taking the medications everyday to stretch out the medications for financial reasons. All of these things have an impact on managing medications safely at home.
To maintain medication safety and elder care at home, you must explore a medication system that is appropriate for the aging adult. There are multiple technological advances, as well simple pill boxes that distribute the medications over a week with slots for different times of the day for your pills.
If you are missing medications or not taking a medication as prescribed, there is assistance for obtaining medications. Be honest with your physician if you cannot afford the medication. Ask if there is a generic brand available. Do not hesitate to ask for samples to try a medication for a few days. If samples are not available, ask for a prescription for just a few days worth. That way you will have time to see if you are going to have a reaction or if the medication is having the anticipated result.
Elderly home health care and medication safety can be accomplished successfully by asking questions and advice from your doctor and other health care professionals. By becoming an educated health care consumer, you can reduce your chances of medication errors and adverse reactions to medications.