Though many of us may have trouble when it comes to keeping our vitamins, supplements, and/or prescription meds organized and taken as recommended, when it comes to medication mistakes, the elderly are particularly at risk.
To manage chronic conditions and stay healthy in general, most of today’s retirement age adults take medication. For those individuals, however, a certain level of risk is present, no matter how good or appropriate the medications may be. Fatal, or at least serious, consequences can be the result of medication mistakes. It’s essential for family caregivers and retirement age adults to avoid medication mistakes at all costs.
Most Common Medication Mistakes
More often than you may think, retirement age adults do make medication mistakes. In fact, in a recent study, it was noted that for every age 50 or older adult taking medications, there is one fatal, life-threatening, or serious drug event every year. What’s more, the accidents were preventable 40% of the time!
Mistakes occur most commonly in the following ways:
- Label Misreads
Medication labels can be hard to read for a number of retirement age adults because of failing eyesight. This can lead to dangerous drug interaction, overdose, or something else – as in the case with medication mix-ups.
- Medication Mix-Ups
More times than not, medication names are hard to read and hard to pronounce. Frequently, one sounds like another. Dangerous drug interactions, missed doses, and overdoses can result because one medication name sounds just like the name of another one and it’s difficult to distinguish between them, for some individuals.
- Forgotten Doses
Taking medications on a regular basis can be difficult, and a dose or more may be forgotten by an individual. Unfortunately, it can be dangerous if scheduled medications are not taken regularly.
- Interaction Between Drugs
When combined with certain foods, when combined with alcohol, or when certain medications are taken together, they are dangerous. If your loved one needs to avoid certain interactions, they may forget. Then again, precise dangers may not have been known to them in the first place because there was a lack of communication between your loved one and a pharmacist/doctor.
Among older adults, this is the most serious and most common medication mistake. Medication-related fatalities are caused by overdoses more than anything else. The adult may have taken the medication too often, and it may have built up over time, or it may all have been taken at once.
Medication Mistake Prevention
As the caregiver of your loved one, or simply as someone who cares, when it comes to the avoidance of medication errors, you can play a big role. To help your loved one stay safe, here are some suggestions:
- Advice from medical professionals: Get detailed answers to any questions you may have about the medication your loved one takes from a pharmacist or their doctor.
- Helpful reminders: You may decide to set their phone alarm, use Post-it notes around the house, give them a quick call if you’re not with them, etc.
- Look at all the labels and double-check them: For proper usage, double-check the labels on your loved one’s medication to make up for any reading errors or poor eyesight on their part.
- The use of a pill organizer: These come in a variety of selections – weekly, daily, monthly, etc.
The Caring Professionals at Conservatory At Plano Can Help Your Loved One with Medications
Now and then, even the most independent individual might need a hand trying to remember when they took their meds, if they took their meds, which ones need to be taken, etc. At Conservatory At Plano, this isn’t a problem. Even independent retirees can benefit from all the care and incredible amenities offered by our community. Our independent living lifestyle is bound to have a positive influence on your loved one.