Should I consider Reducing My Medications?

Should I consider Reducing My Medications?

As we get older, it’s not uncommon for the number of medications we take to increase. Worsening or new medical conditions may require additional prescriptions, and before long, we could be taking a handful of pills each morning and night.

Did you know that more than 40% of older Americans take 5 or more prescriptions? This is a statistic provided by the Lown Institute. They also reported that each day, 750 older Americans require hospitalization due to the side effects caused by taking multiple medications. These numbers are certainly eye-opening, which is why we wanted to offer some helpful education on why you may want to have a conversation with your doctor about your prescriptions.

Reasons to consider a medication reduction:

Medications may increase the risk of falling: As you age, your balance and coordination may be affected, and conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis can affect your strength, all of which increase your risk of falling. Some medications you’ve been prescribed may have listed side effects such as dizziness, vertigo, or drowsiness that may add to the problem.

Potentially dangerous interactions: More than likely, doctors will check medical records before prescribing a new drug to ensure that it won’t interact negatively with other medications you are taking. In some cases, one drug may negate the effects of another prescription, meaning that your high blood pressure medication may be ineffective.

Possibility of overdose: Seniors experiencing memory issues may forget they’ve already taken a dose of their prescriptions, which could cause them to accidentally overdose. If you live in an assisted living community, staff members may offer medication monitoring to avoid this situation.

Drugs may cause insomnia: For a variety of reasons, you may find that you have more trouble sleeping in your later years. This could be because of additional aches and pains but it could also be a side effect of one or more of your medications. If you begin to experience sleep issues, check the labels on your medications to find out all of the possible side effects.

Possible alternatives to medications:

In some cases, making lifestyle changes like eating better, losing weight, and introducing a regular exercise routine will negate the need for some drugs once you experience improvements to conditions such as blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes.

If exercising or daily movement causes you extra pain, consider outpatient therapy. Outpatient therapies can offer education and help you make adjustments to the way you move and complete your activities of daily living. That may help you reduce your pain, which can in turn reduce your need for some pain medications.


If you’re interested in exploring how home health could help support you in your medication reduction plan, give us a call. Through CaringEdge, we offer in-home therapy services to help increase strength and potentially reduce some pain involved with the activities of daily living.


For more information, please contact us at, or call us at 1.877.651.5839.

Helping Your Loved One Prepare for Surgery

Helping Your Loved One Prepare for Surgery

When it comes to surgeries, we always hope for the best, but we should also prepare for some things in advance. When individuals undergo surgical procedures, they may need more help, and we should be ready. Scrambling to find help or mobility aids in a pinch can add unnecessary stress and safety risks.

Here are some things to think about to help your loved one prepare:

Mobility and accessibility-Will they be able to get around independently after returning from the hospital?

If your loved one will require a wheelchair or walker after a major operation, make sure they have these items available before they leave the hospital. Whether prescribed from the doctor and purchased via Medicare or borrowed, make sure they have what they need to be safe.

Be sure that their home is accessible. Leave enough room between furniture to accommodate safe mobility and pick up the throw rugs to reduce their risk for injuries or falls.

Move any items they might need down to where they can easily reach. Easy access to their phone, bottles of water, snacks, or the TV remote will all help.

Find out if they will need any durable medical equipment like grab bars in their bathroom, a shower chair/hand-held shower, a positioning rail to reposition in bed, bed risers for getting into bed, or any other items. Having these things installed/available immediately after their procedure will be helpful.

Medications-The American Society of Anesthesiologists shared that seniors are at an increased risk for complications after surgery. This includes potential for post-operative confusion and disorientation, cognitive dysfunction, and even long-term memory loss.

Caregivers can help their loved ones stay safe by managing their medications after surgery. Ask their doctor what to expect as the anesthesia wears off, how long it will take, and what the person will feel like, so you can assess how long you should plan to help.

Learn all the details of medications they must take after the surgery. Understand what dosages to provide and when, as well as what side effects to keep an eye out for. You can greatly reduce your loved one’s stress by taking care of their prescriptions for a few days after the surgery. This will allow them to have some recovery time and feel closer to normal before resuming typical activities.

Arrival and pick up- Remember that surgery is not as simple as a clinic visit.

Make sure there is someone to bring your loved one to the hospital at the predetermined time, as well as to pick them up when the surgery is over.

Know the surgery schedule so you can ensure they arrive with plenty of time to fill out pre-op paperwork and go through admittance procedures. Also, ask the doctor about what to expect after the surgery. Oftentimes, senior patients will stay in recovery a bit longer because the anesthesia can wear off more slowly, and because it’s riskier for them. You may be able to be in the recovery room with them following the operation as they are waking up and become alert.

Eating and drinking-Many surgeries have strict rules on patients eating and drinking before and after the procedure.

Your loved one may not be able to eat or drink for up to 24 hours ahead of surgery. Make sure you understand this process and encourage them to follow the direction as well. In the event they do accidentally eat or drink, call the hospital right away to discuss it with their doctor/surgical staff. It may require them to reschedule the surgery, or simply that you help them remember not to eat or drink anything else.

Once the procedure is over, the doctor may have some special diet requirements. That could mean eating only soft foods, for example. Be sure to help them have easy access to the foods they should eat and encourage them to follow the post-op instructions. Proper nutrition can impact healing.

What about after surgery? Before the procedure, find out what they will need to do afterward. Will they require a return visit to the hospital soon after? If so, can they drive, or should you plan to take them or arrange a ride?

Will they require special wound care at home, and if so, can you complete that, or will they require outside help? Ask for a walk-thru if you would like help in making sure you can properly care for their wound.

Ask the doctor about home healthcare. Sometimes, patients may qualify through Medicare for nurse visits from an RN to visit their home to help them with wound care or with medication management. Your loved one may also qualify for in-home outpatient therapy from a physical or occupational therapist to help them regain strength or to regain independence with activities following surgery. The doctor may order this which can allow you to find providers before surgery, so they’re prepared in advance to help after discharge.


CaringEdge offers both in-home nursing support as well as outpatient therapies to help. Give us a call today and learn how we can help to support your loved one! We would love to help offer you both peace of mind to make their recovery a smooth experience. For more information, please contact us at, or call us at 1.877.651.5839.

4 Ways To Help Seniors With Arthritis

4 Ways To Help Seniors With Arthritis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 52.5 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with arthritis or a similar chronic pain disease. As we get older, our joints and bones become more susceptible to these types of health conditions and they can have a big impact on our quality of life. Here are a few tips to help your loved ones manage the pain associated with arthritis:

Lend a hand:

There are many things your loved one may struggle with, like putting groceries into a basket or using a vacuum cleaner.

Offer to help them grocery shop once a week or consider using home-delivered grocery services. Meals on wheels can also be a possible solution if cooking is becoming too difficult.

Offer help with home cleaning or help them to explore home care service agencies that provide help with vacuuming and other home management tasks.

Encourage movement:

Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercising can be a very good thing for arthritis sufferers. When you move about, it loosens your muscles and lubricates your joints which can do wonders for easing pain. Your loved one may be hesitant to exercise because they are concerned about pain, but you can be at their side to be sure they don’t fall or have any other issues.

Talk with their doctor about the range of motion exercises that might be good to help their arthritis issues, or ask if they may qualify for outpatient therapy at home which Medicare may cover.

Monitor their medications:

If your loved one resides at home alone, check in with them to be sure they’re taking the medications as prescribed by their doctor. If the pain is too great, be sure they’re not overmedicating which can put them at risk for falls and other adverse health events.

Arthritis may cause pain and limitations to hand dexterity. If your loved one has difficulty opening bottles or retrieving the pills, find out if their pharmacy offers bubble packing for easy access. Or, ask their doctor if they can be referred to a home health agency. Home health agencies can offer support from a registered nurse, or “RN” to help them right at home by putting the medications into a planner.

Help them explore outpatient therapy:

Pain can make us move differently, or less. Pay close attention to how your loved one is moving. If they’re using objects around the house to brace themselves to transfer out of chairs, or if they’re grabbing onto things to brace themselves as they walk, physical and occupational therapy could help. Ask their doctor for a referral.

Physical and occupational therapies can help them adjust the way they move to avoid or reduce pain. Therapy can also help them evaluate what durable medical equipment could help them too. Walkers or canes may help them in moving about, making them safer and potentially reducing pain. Therapy can also recommend helpful gadgets like grabber sticks, hand-held showers, or sock aides to help them regain independence in completing important tasks.

Lastly, outpatient therapy could help their condition improve reducing your loved one’s need for outside assistance once they regain their capabilities.

If you’re interested in how home health or outpatient therapy could benefit your loved one to manage their arthritis pain at home, reach out to us at CaringEdge! Email us at, or call us at 1.877.651.5839.