As we age, our bodies tend to need a lot more help medication-wise to stay healthy. According to WebMD, “Adults over age 65 buy 30 percent of all prescription drugs and 40 percent of all over-the-counter drugs.” Since seniors can be taking so many different medications at once, it is important for family members and loved ones to be aware of what they are taking and their dosage to avoid serious harm.
As we get older, our bodies change, and while it’s easy to tell those changes outwardly, it’s harder to diagnose them internally. Certain factors, such as the way our body absorbs medications, are affected drastically by age. As stated by the FDA, “…changes in the digestive system can affect how fast medicines enter the bloodstream. Changes in body weight can influence the amount of medicine you need to take and how long it stays in your body.” With this in mind, it’s important for both you and your elderly loved one to be honest with their doctor about what medicines they are taking and how they interact.
As the number of prescription medications your loved one takes increases, so does the risk of drug interactions and potential mixups. Keep these facts in mind as you or your loved one start to take prescribed and OTC drugs:
- Your liver and kidneys also age, which can have an effect on the way medicine is absorbed and how it affects you.
- Dosage must be adjusted for the elderly, as medications may stay in the system longer than younger adults, increasing potential side effects if mixed with other medicines.
- Seniors tend to have an increased sensitivity to medications.
- Older adults tend to forget or have difficulty reading prescription bottles, so it is important to establish a routine to avoid errors in dosage. You may also request larger labels on prescription bottles to make them easier to read.
- Keep track of every kind of pill you or your loved one is ingesting, this includes everything from supplements and vitamins to OTC and prescribed pills.
- Keep in mind that pills can have side effects such as dizziness or loss of balance, which can increase the risk of falling.
- It might be harder for older adults to swallow bigger pills, so if possible, ask for alternative ways to ingest the pills such as a liquid medicine.
- Drugs can also interact with food and affect how they are absorbed, so diet plays a large part in staying healthy, especially when taking medications.
- Drugs also do not mix well with alcohol, so be mindful of alcohol intake.
Let your doctor know everything you or your loved one is taking and come prepared to ask questions to know how well new prescriptions will interact with food, other medications, and your body as you age gracefully. By doing so, you can help your loved one continue to lead a healthy life!
If you’re looking for an Albuquerque assisted living home that can help your loved ones as they age and provide professional support such as medication management and meal preparation, look no further than Sandia Senior Suites! Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help your elderly loved one and your family.