Did you know that 750 older Americans are hospitalized daily because of severe side effects from their medications? That figure has been provided by the Lown Institute. Having a good understanding of medication side effects is important to help yourself or someone you care about. Those who live alone may not recognize the side effects of medications.
Medication Side Effects
- Digestive Issues
Side effects of medications can change someone’s entire life. Think of how impactful one fall can be. Injuries or illnesses can rob someone of their abilities, either temporarily or long-term. Without health and independence, it’s challenging to enjoy life, especially during the retirement chapter.
It’s important to recognize what might add to your risk of experiencing side effects, such as other medications, foods, or alcohol. Drinking alcohol with medications may intensify the effects, and some medications (like laxatives and cough syrup) may already contain alcohol. Know your risks by reading prescription labels and asking your doctor and/or pharmacist for more information.
Taking a number of prescribed medications to treat a condition is called polypharmacy. If you’re concerned about the number of pills you’re taking, or about side effects, speak to your doctor to determine if there is any way to reduce your medications. Sometimes lifestyle habits and small changes can help improve your condition.
Aspire is helping senior living communities to make strides in medication reduction. Thoughtful computer software, combined with clinical staff on-site, is paving the way to better health outcomes for residents.
Aspire’s clinical dashboard can track current medications and historical health information, putting information like side effects and common health trends right at the staff’s fingertips. If a resident suffers a fall or another adverse event, this thoughtful technology can help answer questions about why it happened. Staff can use the findings as part of an assessment to help residents ensure all medications are appropriate, necessary, and up to date. An ongoing assessment may involve reductions, additions, or changes to medication regimens. The decisions are ultimately up to residents and their clinicians.
Safe Medication Storage and Disposal
Be sure to keep your medications locked up, or at least secure, so that they cannot get into the wrong hands. While many prescription bottles have caps that are tough to open, the medication planners those pills are often transferred into could be very easy to access. Be sure to keep them handy but keep them safe. Be especially careful where you store controlled medications, so they don’t get taken from you.
Consider disposing of the prescriptions you no longer need at drug take-back events. April 22, 2023, is National Drug Take Back Day. Contact your local public health or law enforcement office to find an event near you. Your pharmacy can also be a resource to help you dispose of medications.
Just What the Doctor Ordered
Taking prescriptions as they’re ordered is important. Missing doses or skipping days of prescribed or over-the-counter meds can have detrimental effects. If you’re having problems with taking medications as directed, they may not work properly. Stopping medications without a doctor’s consultation can also be dangerous. If you’re struggling with memory loss or managing too many prescriptions, be sure to talk with your doctor to develop a plan.
Home monitoring services, like phone call reminders or alarmed medication dispensing machines, are available through a subscription to help you remember your medications. While they might help short-term, what they don’t do is see you in person to observe your symptoms or side effects. Depending on what services are available and what condition you have, your doctor could order a registered nurse to visit your home to check in on you. Sometimes Medicare will even cover some of the cost.
Regardless of where you see your medical providers, it’s just important that you do. Little things can become big things when it comes to your health. One fall or adverse event can change someone’s whole life as they know it.
If you’d like to learn more about what Aspire can offer, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.