It is easy to get stressed, busy, and just forget your medications. Most likely, your missed or late dose will not impact your overall well-being in the long run, but for the elderly, medication compliance is imperative for their vitality.
Elderly medication compliance is one of the biggest concerns among healthcare professionals. According to a study by Harris Interactive, over 50 percent of all prescriptions administered are not taken as prescribed or are never filled in the first place. This is an alarming statistic, especially considering the fact that non-compliance can easily be prevented with a little help. In fact, one of the many services provided by homecare companies is ensuring elderly mediation compliance.
Reasons for Non-Compliance
Elderly medication compliance typically fails because seniors:
• Are overwhelmed by the number of prescriptions they have to take each day-sometimes more than once a day
• Fear harsh side effects
• Simply forget or are confused by the physician’s instructions
• Fear they will lose what mobility and functionality they have left by taking their medications
• Feel fine and therefore believe they don’t need to take their medication
• Want to save money
• Cannot open their medication container or they have difficulty swallowing the medication itself
Risks of Non-Compliance
Not taking medications-regardless of the reason-can delay recovery, worsen symptoms, or even cause death. There are stringent guidelines for dosing by manufacturers and prescription takers are urged to comply with these guidelines. It is estimated that 80 percent of hospitalizations due to adverse drug reactions are caused by misinterpreting or ignoring the instructions.
Although most healthy adults discontinue medications once they feel better, it is important for elderly individuals to continue taking their medications to avoid any adverse reactions. In addition, elderly individuals don’t always understand or know what they are taking. In these instances, they are at high risk for over-medicating by using nonprescription medications that can react poorly with their prescription medications. These mix-ups are especially dangerous because they can be life-threatening.
How a Homecare Company Can Help with Elderly Medication Compliance
• Creating medication routines: Caregivers can help elderly individuals set daily, individualized routines to help them remember their medications. These routines are designed to ensure medications are taken at the right dose and on-time to avoid over-medicating.
• Utilizing packaging aids and setting timers: Homecare workers can assist elderly individuals by using packaging aids that separate medications by day and time. To help the individual stay on-time, the caregiver can set timers that indicate when it is time to take their medication. This will ensure that there are no accidental missed doses or overdoses.
When people age and can no longer take their medications, it becomes a matter of health and safety rather than comfort. One of the reasons the elderly are often placed in nursing homes is to ensure medication compliance. However, with the help of a homecare company, elderly individuals can maintain their independence and freedom while still ensuring they take potentially life-saving medications. The company’s caregivers can monitor, administer, and ensure elderly individuals take their medications, assist them with daily chores, and provide companionship that promotes physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Rhiannon Acree is the founder and president of Cambrian Homecare, a homecare agency based in Long Beach, California. Cambrian Homecare serves Long Beach, the South Bay, Orange County, Palm Springs, Riverside, San Bernardino, and the San Gabriel Valley, California, employing professional caregivers that provide customized, flexible, non-medical homecare services seven days a week.