Why Some Seniors Struggle With Medication Adherence and Tips to Help

Medicines can both enhance and save lives, but for seniors struggling with medication adherence, the consequences can be dire.

Studies show that as many as 125,000 people lose their lives each year because of struggles with medication adherence, a number that’s twice as many as those who die from car accidents. And though many people presume they’re taking their prescriptions correctly, medication adherence issues are actually very common, such as:

  • Failing to fill a prescription for a recommended medicine
  • Omitting at least one dose
  • Taking the wrong med
  • Taking too much of a prescribed medication
  • Discontinuing a medication too soon
  • Incorrect use of medical equipment like inhalers and syringes
  • Taking damaged, out of date, or incorrectly stored medications

Senior medicine adherence can be particularly hazardous among older adults, many of whom take multiple prescription meds. However, research has revealed that with the proper knowledge, motivation, and support, older individuals can overcome the barriers to medication adherence. As the leading provider of home and respite care in Aberdeen, we’ve broken down some of the difficulties in staying with a prescribed medication plan, and tips to overcome them:

Memory Problems

A leading difficulty in medication adherence among older individuals is memory loss. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s might not remember to take their medications or may even take multiple doses, having forgotten that they had taken a dose already.

Tip: Make taking meds a part of an already-established, everyday habit, utilizing medication dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.

Swallowing Problems

Some seniors have a problem with swallowing pills, and as a result, may attempt to chew or crush medications, causing long-acting medicine to be released into the body too rapidly.

Tip: Ask the doctor or pharmacist if the prescription is available in a liquid or smaller pill form that is easier to swallow.

Accessibility Problems

Many seniors have problems with transportation and/or ambulation, making it problematic to get to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and refills.

Tip: Look into mail order prescriptions that are mailed to the home, or contact Carolina Hearts Home Care for help.

Taking prescription medicines correctly is vital to seniors’ health. For help in making certain a senior you know is following doctor’s orders, contact Carolina Hearts Home Care, providers of award-winning home and respite care in Aberdeen and the surrounding area. Our skilled caregivers can provide medication reminders and ensure that seniors take medications exactly as prescribed, as well as a full range of other in-home supportive services for older adults. Call us today at 1-855-277-2005 for a free in-home consultation!