OVERMEDICATION ISSUES FOR ELDERLY

Apr 8th, 2013 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Look for the Obvious

Over-medication issues are common in the lives of our elderly loved ones. They happen more often in nursing homes, but they can still happen with elders living at home and/or being cared for by a caregiver.

The most important issue for seniors concerned about over-medication issues is to look for the signs and symptoms. They are rather easily identified if someone has been closely monitoring the elder.

  • Behavioral changes, particularly in personality. For example, if the elder is normally passive and compliant, and suddenly becomes aggressive and obstinate, the cause could be an over-medication issue.
  • Many medications used to manage difficult behavior can be over-used and result in the elder becoming easily fatigued and sleeping a lot. This happens more in nursing homes, but it can also occur unknowingly at home.
  • Side effects and complications from medications are also issues to look for. Unfortunately, families do not know in advance if there will be medical reactions to newly prescribed drugs. So be especially diligent when the primary care physician prescribes a new medication; read the literature that comes with the prescription and watch for side effects that may show up.
  • When an elder becomes easily confused and/or withdrawn, the cause may be over medication or medication that isn’t working as it is intended. The primary care physician may need to be consulted.

Most important for all seniors with elderly loved ones concerned about the possibility of over-medication is to monitor the elder carefully and often to be on the alert for possible side effects and issues that may be related to too many drugs.

 

 



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