A surprisingly large number of elderly Americans are taken to an emergency room each year for accidental poisonings due to medication mismanagement. Because of physical and cognitive health issues, many aging adults experience the serious effects of poisoning which can even lead to a coma or death. Family caregivers need to know the serious harm that medication mismanagement and accidental poisoning can do to their aging loved ones. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available during Poison Prevention Awareness Month.
Medication Mismanagement and Accidental Poisoning
Most elderly adults are dealing with more than one chronic illness, disease, injury or effects of age that requires prescription medication. In some cases, elderly adults are dealing with five or more pills, plus any over-the-counter options, vitamins and similar supplements. Without a strict adherence to the proper way and time to take all those medications, it’s extremely easy for seniors to fall victim to accidental poisoning.
Some of the common mistakes that seniors make when it comes to medication include skipping a dose, then doubling up, mixing one medicine with another, accidentally taking someone else’s medicine, taking non-prescription meds when they shouldn’t and taking pills that have gone past their expiration. Sometimes they get confused and don’t believe they should take so much medicine or can’t remember the last time they took a dose and go overboard. If medication mismanagement is happening frequently, family caregivers must take steps to prevent accidental poisoning.
Ideas on How Family Caregivers Help Seniors Avoid Medication Mismanagement
Seniors who must take multiple pills each day or several times per day are more likely to make a mistake and suffer an accidental poisoning. With such complicated medication schedules, seniors must rely on others for help, such as family caregivers. One of the best prevention methods is to hire an elder care provider to give in-home care and assist with a number of daily tasks, from cooking and laundry to dressing, grooming and companionship. Medication management can be included in those duties, and although elder care providers cannot administer the medication, there’s a lot they can do to keep seniors on track.
Family caregivers and elder care providers should keep a written record of all the medicines a senior is taking, including the names, dosages and frequency. There should also be a list of over-the-counter medications and vitamins that are not safe for the senior to have. This will help family caregivers and elder care providers create a schedule that allows aging adults to get the right meds at the right time. A good routine reduces the risk of making a mistake and suffering from accidental poisoning. Family caregivers and elder care providers can also stay on top of expiration dates and get rid of anything that is no longer valid.
Because medication mismanagement that leads to poisoning is quite common in aging adults, it’s especially important for their family caregivers to implement a plan that ensures their elderly relatives won’t suffer from accidental poisoning.
if you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Parker, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 303-953-9924.