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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 1.877.651.5839.