Medications can both improve and save lives, but there is a hidden danger that can lead to dire consequences — the risk of medication non-adherence.
Statistics show that as many as 125,000 people lose their lives each year as a result of prescription medication non-adherence, a number that’s twice as large as those who die from car accidents. And although many people assume they’re taking their medications correctly, medication adherence issues are actually quite common, including:
- Failing to fill a prescription for a recommended medication
- Skipping at least one dose
- Taking the wrong medication
- Taking too much of a prescribed medication
- Stopping a medication too soon
- Improper use of medical equipment like inhalers and syringes
- Taking damaged, expired, or improperly stored medications
Medication adherence can be especially dangerous among older adults, many of whom take multiple prescription medications. However, studies show that with the proper knowledge, motivation, and support, seniors can break through the obstacles to medication adherence. As a top-rated provider of home health and hospice, we’ve outlined some of the difficulties in sticking to a prescribed medication plan, and tips to overcome them:
Memory Problems: A leading difficulty in medication adherence among older adults is memory loss. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s might forget to take their medications or may even take multiple doses, having forgotten that they had taken a dose already.
Tip: Make taking medicines a part of an already-established, everyday habit, utilizing medication dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.
Swallowing Problems: Some seniors struggle with swallowing pills, and as a result, may attempt to chew or crush medications, causing long-acting medicine to be released into the body too rapidly.
Tip: Ask the doctor or pharmacist if the medication is available in a liquid or small pill form that is easier to swallow.
Accessibility Problems: Many older adults have difficulty with transportation and/or ambulation, making it difficult to get to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and refills.
Tip: Look into mail order prescriptions that are delivered to the home, or contact Harmony Home Health & Hospice for assistance.
Taking prescription medications correctly is crucial to seniors’ health. For help in ensuring senior medication adherence, contact Harmony Home Health & Hospice, a leading caregiver in Provo and the surrounding area.