The Statistics on Medications
Older women consume 60% of all prescription and over-the-counter medications. On average, 18.5 prescriptions per person per year are written for older adults, and 83% of people over 65 are taking prescription medications. The risks for accidental overdose are increased in older adults by memory loss, hearing difficulties and low vision.
What Can We Do?
Research & Review
- Pay attention to any changes in an older person’s speech patterns, mental acuity, physical strength or level of depression or confusion.
- Regularly check the medicine cabinet and refrigerator for medication usage patterns, expiration dates, and to ensure timely refills.
- Scoop all prescription bottles into a paper bag and take them to the pharmacist so they can cross-reference drugs to look for any potential adverse side effects.
- Many receive medications from multiple doctors. Make a list of all the prescriptions and over-the-counter medications and send it to the primary care physician for review.
Work As a Team
Discuss these concerns with the older person. Remember, though, that your most effective weapons against an accidental overdose are respect and understanding. Successful medication management works best when you are working as a team.
Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Complete Care Strategies