As people age, most of them start to develop health problems.
Those health problems accumulate and many of those conditions are treated with medications. The majority of elderly people take more than five different drugs. They take pills for high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, gout, urinary incontinence, arthritis and a multitude of other diseases and conditions. And then there are eye drops and nasal sprays and sublingual lozenges and skin patches and subcutaneous injections. If you are over 60 years old, you probably have several conditions that are treated by medicines, often prescribed by several different physicians.
Sometimes when you look at all the pill bottles lined up in your medicine cabinet, you just want to throw them all out. But you don’t, because you understand the importance of taking medications for seniors. You also understand that the drugs help regulate the problems that your aging body has developed and that not to take them can be detrimental. You want to comply with your doctor’s treatment plan, but sometimes you make mistakes.
In this article, you will learn about medication errors in seniors and how to avoid them.
What are the most common medication errors that older people make?
1. Forgetting to take your medications
This is one of the commonest mistakes. Even elderly people who do not have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often have problems with short term memory. You walk into a room and then can’t remember why. If you only have to take pills once a day, you are not as likely to forget a dose. But if it’s more often, you are at risk of missing doses.
Here are some helpful tips to help you remember to take your medications: Try to take your medicines at scheduled times every day. Set an alarm, preferably on your watch or cell phone to remind you. Picking a time around mealtime often makes it easier to remember.
This is the commonest mistake and it can be fatal. That same faulty short term memory may make you wonder if you actually took your morning pills. You may think you ought to make sure and take them now. Remember your doctor determined the proper amount. More is not better.
Here are some helpful tips to prevent an overdose: Get a pill organizer. They come with spaces for pills up to four times a day for one week. Write the day you are supposed to organize your pills on the calendar. Always check your organizer before you take the next dose to make sure that you are on time.
3. Mistaking one medication for another
You may think this cannot happen, but drugs often have similar names for very dissimilar conditions.
Keep the following tips in mind in order to avoid mistaking your medications: Always read the label on your pill bottles. Do not remove the pills from the original bottle until you put them in your organizer. Wear your glasses to be sure you’re able to see the print clearly. Take your time when organizing your pills.
4. Taking your medicine with or without food
The food we eat and the liquids we drink are broken down in our bodies to molecular size. The useful molecules are absorbed and enter the bioche