Most people hold elder relatives dear, and many are fundamental as a matriarchal or patriarchal role in the broader family. Yet aging brings its maladies and illnesses, from simple backaches to severe problems like dementia-related diseases. These are mainly treated by gerontological medication in the family setting, usually prescribed by a primary care physician or specialist.
Doctor and Familial Responsibilities
It isn’t uncommon for family elders to hold multiple medication prescriptions. Yet aging itself, such as physiological change, is a common cause of misdiagnosis and inappropriate prescribing by physicians. The further risk increases owing to comorbidities, especially when multiple ailments are present. It is, therefore, typical for a medical malpractice attorney to assess cases where prescribed medications cause harm as opposed to helping an elderly patient.
In these cases, the burden of caring for an elderly parent, aunt, or loved one usually falls upon the family, especially in poorer social economies. In addition, physical care such as washing, exercise, and feeding an elderly patient is common yet challenging work. But keeping track of multiple medications can be tedious for the pharmacologically untrained, and accidents happen up to 33% of the time, according to the American Geriatrics Society.
Safe Medication Practices in the Home
Due to the high volume of medication errors at home which accounts for approximately 20,000 incidents in the United States, safe medicine practice is required. Some of the most common medical mistakes at home include:
- Forgetting to administer medication
- Administering medication at the wrong time
- Using drugs in a manner unfitting
- Incorrect dosage
These errors are dangerous for young, fit, and healthy people yet can be fatal for the elderly or frail. In addition, owing to the increased amount of medications older people rely on, they are more at risk of an incident occurring. Some of the best safety tips for safe medication administration include:
- Always take medicine as indicated by the packaging and GP
- Store medication as instructed
- Never administer drugs past their expiration date
- Be aware of and observe patients for known side effects
- Keep a list and track medications throughout the day
Apps such as Express Scripts, MyTherapy, and Medisafe are excellent for keeping track of medication reminders. Additionally, simple pillboxes are an efficient method of daily medication tracking.
Dependence Reduction and Quality of Life
While growing older does come with natural ailments that require medication, there is a tendency to become dependent on certain medicines that were not appropriate. It is, therefore, necessary to try to reduce dependencies where they are not warned. Such dependence can include drugs like sleeping tablets, painkillers, and antidepressants, which are misused and abused. In the UK alone, prescription drug misuse costs the NHS over £8 billion per year. Therefore, at least at the socioeconomic level, it is prudent to reduce dependencies.
Drug dependency reduction isn’t easy, especially if a substance is addictive. In these cases, rehabilitation treatments might be necessary. Yet, quality of life can be significantly increased once treatment begins to work. A healthy and balanced diet, regular exercise, and a more holistic approach to medical care will gradually help. Osteopathy, acupuncture, and herbal medicines are excellent for treating common issues associated with the elderly such as joint aches, sleep disorders, cognition, and chiropractic issues.