As we age, our bodies will inevitably deteriorate but the effects can be slowed down with the right diet, exercise and living a healthy lifestyle.
From the experience of medical personnel working in the geriatric ward, usually the health problems in the elderly are diabetes and hypertension.
It is also common for those who are aged around 60 to 70 years old to be afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer.
In this article we share the geriatric health problems and how best to care for an aged loved one.
The Common Medication-related Problems Of The Elderly
Elders have a lot of co-morbidities which means they have more than two illnesses. For instance, some may have both diabetes and hypertension at the same time.
Each disease needs medication to control or treat and with more than one disease to manage, there can be quite a lot of medications to take.
We would want to prevent drug-drug interactions and drug-disease interaction which could happen especially when an elderly patient is taking multiple kinds of medications.
For instance, sometimes, the patient may feel stiffness then we need to check if it is due to a drug side effect or from the disease.
Another problem in the elderly is that they may not be able to swallow as well as we can and so we need to provide solutions such as perhaps crushing the tablet or other routes to help them.
Drugs That May Indirectly Affect The Mobility Of The Elderly
Medications that cause drowsiness or delusions such as painkillers, opiates and muscle relaxants could cause problems like difficulty in walking.
As such, it is important to work closely with the rehabilitation and physiotherapy personnel and keep each other informed on the patient’s medication history to better facilitate their recovery.
The nurses will also be alerted especially with high-risk patients and will help the patient safely use the bathroom and such.
Older Adults And Medication
Until a certain age, most of us will probably be taking one or two types of medication. However, diet and lifestyle is very important.
There are no shortcuts in keeping your body healthy but there are preventive measures to take to delay disease onset.
Important Things To Note If When Taking Of Elderly Person With Medication Requirements
Pill numbers will increase so keep a clear record of what medication that is needed currently and what medication has been stopped.
Be aware and after each follow-up from the hospital or clinic, ask for a copy of the prescription. Pay attention to the drug name, dosage and indications. Here is a summary of things to note when caring for the elderly when it comes to their medications:
- List of medications
- Whether medications can be mixed
- Time to take medication
Most importantly, consult someone such as a medical professional or a pharmacist before giving any supplements.
Extra Precautions That Can Be Taken
Find a way to keep dated prescriptions so you will have the most updated one.
Additionally, something very important is to not remove the pills from the blister packaging.
Cutting the blister packaging is also not advisable because the packaging has the pills’ expiry date. Keep medications in airtight containers and note all of the expiry dates.
Ensuring Your Elders Follow Your Advice And Instructions
Set alarms and reminders on your phone for medication feeding and give a timetable with clear instructions to the patient for their reference.
Do also ensure that you give standardised answers in order to make sure that in case they forget or need a second opinion, if they see another medical personnel, the same answer will be presented.
Separate their medications and keep them based on a system that best works for their lifestyle.
For some, they may prefer to have a system of grouping their medications by how many times a day they need to take it, or by type of disease.
A system such as keeping medications in their blister packaging in separate airtight containers labelled clearly is highly recommended.