Innovations in healthcare have provided us with medications that help people to live longer, healthier lives. The problem is, many individuals are not taking their medications as prescribed. Making it even worse, this is not simply a case of forgetting a dose. It is intentionally skipping pills or cutting medications in half. This is especially true in the senior population and making many health conditions difficult to manage.
Missing doses of medications has serious consequences on older individuals. More than 125,000 deaths are directly or indirectly attributed to this problem. It also causes seniors to lose their independence. Many feel forced to give up on their goals of aging in place.
To help seniors better understand why it is so important to take their medications as prescribed, we must first look at why they are missing doses. Many experts believe there are three primary reasons.
Seniors Believe Medications Will Not Help
Many seniors grew up in an era when medications were not available in the way that they are today. As a result, they might not believe that medications work. Even when faced with serious health conditions, they either do not believe the diagnoses are real or think relief is simply not possible. Other seniors might feel reminded of their illness when taking medications, an illness that they would, perhaps, prefer to forget.
Sometimes, seniors believe natural remedies are as effective as prescriptions. So, instead of taking cholesterol medication, they resort to fish oil. Instead of using prescriptions the help control blood pressure, they believe blueberries hold the answer. These remedies may serve a valuable purpose when used in conjunction with prescriptions. However, they often are not effective enough on their own. Using them without consulting a doctor could cause symptoms to worsen and serious health problems to go unaddressed.
Believing Medications are Only Necessary When You Do Not Feel Well
Some medications are necessary even when you feel healthy and have no symptoms. For instance, uncontrolled blood pressure typically will not make you feel bad, but failing to address rising numbers increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Maintenance medications are often used to control conditions even when a person has no noticeable symptoms. Taking them every day is the only way to stay healthy and avoid more serious side effects and diagnoses. If seniors fail to take them, they often will not know there is a problem until the condition turns to something more severe.
Many seniors live on a fixed income. When it comes to taking medications, they consider the expense and sometimes feel making the purchase is not worth it. Even if they decide to take the medications, they might feel “safe” cutting the dose or skipping a day here and there. In the short term, this often seems like a good idea when it comes to managing money. In the long run though, it often results in increased risks, more doctor’s visits and even expensive ER visits. The savings simply are not worth it.
Taking medications as prescribed is important, and this is especially true for seniors with the goal of aging in place for as long as possible. Family members can help seniors to remain on task by reminding them of why medications are important, discussing concerns with their doctor, monitoring prescription usage and even helping to pay for medications.
Hiring a professional in home caregiver through an accredited agency like Salus Homecare San Fernando Valley is another excellent way to better ensure medication compliance. These professionals remind seniors of the importance of medications and when and how to take them as prescribed. This level of support is often invaluable and empowers seniors to remain healthier and happier as they continue to enjoy a higher quality of life.
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