Medicines can both enhance and save lives, but there is a concealed danger that can create dire consequences — the risk of medication non-adherence.
Data shows that as many as 125,000 people lose their lives every year as a result of prescription medication non-adherence, a number that’s twice as large as those who die from automobile accidents. And while many people believe they’re taking their prescriptions correctly, medication adherence problems are actually very common, including:
- Neglecting to fill a prescription for a recommended medicine
- Omitting at least one dose
- Taking the wrong medicine
- Taking an excessive amount of a prescribed medication
- Discontinuing a medication too soon
- Improper use of medical equipment like inhalers and syringes
- Taking damaged, expired, or incorrectly stored meds
Medication non-adherence can be particularly dangerous among older individuals, many of whom take multiple prescription meds. However, research shows that with the proper knowledge, motivation, and support, older adults can overcome the obstacles to medication non-adherence. As the top-rated provider of home care Abington seniors trust, we’ve broken down some of the challenges in staying with a prescribed medication plan, and tips to overcome them:
Memory Problems: A leading difficulty in medication adherence among seniors is memory loss. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s may forget to take their meds or may even take multiple doses, having forgotten that they had taken a dose previously.
- Tip: Make taking meds a part of an established, everyday habit, using medication dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.
Swallowing Problems: Some older individuals have a problem with swallowing pills, and as a result, may try to chew or crush medicines, causing long-acting drugs to be released into the body too quickly.
- Tip: Ask the physician or pharmacist if the medicine is available in a liquid or smaller pill form that is easier to swallow.
Accessibility Problems: Many seniors have difficulty with transportation and/or getting around, making it problematic to get to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and refills.
- Tip: Check into mail order medicines that are shipped to the home, or contact Effraim Home Care for assistance.
Taking prescription meds correctly is vital to seniors’ health. For help in making certain a senior you know is following doctors’ orders, contact Effraim Home Care at (215) 826-7422, providers of the Abington home care local families trust. To learn about all of the communities where we provide our award-winning home care, please visit our Locations Served page.