The Crucial Importance of Proper Medication Management for seniors

Seniors in our country are the most prone to the mismanagement of their medications. Since children often only mismanage medications that are not secured, such as ones they find that may lead to an overdose, seniors far outweigh them in this equation, namely since seniors are tasked with remembering to take a variety of medications usually several times per day. A recent article that was published in Aplaceformom.com, a senior care specialty firm that helps people find senior care and homes for their elderly parents, underscored the importance of proper medication management for seniors during the present day. According to the article, which also cited various U.S. government sources, the mismanagement of medications leads to 125,000 fatalities annually in the U.S., costing taxpayers more than $100 billion each year? More shockingly, the article noted that approximately 10 percent of all emergency room incidents in this country result directly from this. In regard to the senior population, the current numbers reflect the need for some reform or newer technologies and systems or methods that can enable seniors to more adequately and properly take their medications each day.

Nursing home admissions are not solely due to just the fact that an elderly person requires assisted living or onsite medical care. Often they can be related to the direct mismanagement of medications, too. According to the recent government statistics, about 23 percent of all nursing home admissions are solely due to this. This does make sense, seeing as about 21 percent of all overdose incidents are related to the mismanagement of daily medicine taking routines.

Errors in taking medications also account for serious injury or illness and even death in the most extreme cases. In fact, the elderly can commonly make mistakes when taking their medications. It’s estimated that nearly 60 percent of them do, which can lead to serious illness or death via overdose. About 26 percent of the time, it does lead to a life threatening condition or fatality. One study regarding a popular cholesterol medication found that more than half of all seniors simply stopped taking this medication after about half a year, for reasons unknown, with fewer than 24 percent making it past the four year marker (the medication was a long term medication intended to be taken for five years).

The real solution is a difficult one to prescribe. That’s because even with the appropriate patient education, it also can come down to outright forgetfulness. Some seniors just are unable to remember when to take their medication. In addition, many seniors take more than one medication daily, further compounding the situation. In light of these shocking numbers, newer ideas are emerging that involve timers and digital reminders and now even smartphone applications. However, since a only about 16 percent of seniors even own smartphones, such technologies may not help the current generation of seniors even if they will aid the next generation of the elderly. A good approach is to gauge how an elderly family is taking their medication and to work with their primary care provider to facilitate an effective method of reminding them to take the proper medications at the right time.