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Elder Care Austin: Helping Seniors With Medication Adherence

100-Year-Old woman and her home healthcare nurse.

Medicines can both improve and save lives, but there is a concealed hazard that can produce dire consequences — the threat of medication non-adherence.

Statistics show that as many as 125,000 people die each and every year because of prescription medication non-adherence, a number that’s twice as large as those who die from car accidents. And although many people presume they’re taking their medications correctly, medication adherence concerns are actually quite common, including:

  • Neglecting to fill a prescription for a recommended medicine
  • Skipping at least one dose
  • Taking the wrong medication
  • Taking an excessive amount of a prescribed medication
  • Stopping a medication too soon
  • Incorrect use of medical equipment like inhalers and syringes
  • Taking damaged, expired, or improperly stored medicines

Medication adherence can be especially hazardous among older adults, many of whom take multiple prescription medicines. However, research shows that with the proper knowledge, motivation, and support, older individuals can break through the hurdles to medication adherence. As the top-rated provider of home care Austin and the surrounding area seniors trust, we’ve outlined some of the difficulties in following a prescribed medication plan, and tips to conquer them:

  • Memory Problems: A major difficulty in medication adherence among seniors is loss of memory. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s may not remember to take their meds or may even take multiple doses, having forgotten that they had taken a dose earlier.
    • Tip: Make taking medications a part of an established, everyday habit, utilizing medication dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.
  • Swallowing Problems: Some older individuals have a problem with swallowing pills, and as a result, might try to chew or crush medicines, causing long-acting drugs to be released into the body too swiftly.
    • Tip: Ask the doctor or pharmacist if the medication is available in a liquid or small pill form that is easier to swallow.
  • Accessibility Problems: Many older individuals have difficulty 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 CareFor for assistance.

Taking prescription medications properly is fundamental to seniors’ health. For help in ensuring a senior you know is following physician’s orders, contact CareFor at (512) 338-4533, providers of the best elder care Austin and the surrounding area have to offer.