Seniors and Prescription Drug Misuse — Seeing the Signs
Prescription drug misuse is a serious problem around the world, affecting all kinds of people. From the rich to the impoverished and from all walks of life, people aren’t always immune to misuse. Misuse happens for a number of reasons, from confusion about prescription recommendations to an inability to handle unpleasant side effects. In some cases, medications are taken at doses that are higher than recommended. Other times, patients don’t take what they’re supposed to. The point is that misuse of medication can be dealt with in a way that’s non judgmental — it affects everyone and the only way to stop it is to treat situations involving misuse with dignity and a plan to offer real, workable solutions.
One of the groups that’s most affected by prescription drug misuse is the senior population. This fact doesn’t automatically occur to everyone; when the average individual is asked to picture someone who misuses drugs, they tend to think up images of younger, immature people. The fact of the matter is that seniors make up the segment of the population that relies on prescription drugs the most, so there is more potential for misuse.
How To Tell if a Senior is Misusing Prescription Medications
Seniors will employ their best efforts to convince those around them that they are taking their medications properly. If they are misusing their medications due to confusion, they may even believe so themselves. This can make seeing the signs of misuse difficult.
Thankfully, there are some red flags that can indicate possible prescription misuse:
– Changes in mood
– Disruptions in sleep patterns
– Changes in appearance and/or grooming habits
– Reports that medications have been lost or stolen
– Lack of improvement or stabilization from the medicated condition
– Poor balance or unsteady movements
– Increased irritability
– Increased desire for isolation
It should be noted that these indicators do not represent proof of a senior’s prescription drug abuse; they are merely signs that something is amiss and should be investigated.
If you’re caring for an aging loved one and you feel certain that drug misuse is happening, it can be hard to know what next steps to take.
Fortunately, there are ways you can make a difference and help to stop the misuse before it turns into a serious problem.
The best thing you can do is to get other caregivers and family members involved. Find out if they’ve noticed the same red flags. If you and others are witnessing the same signs of misuse, it’s time to get your loved one’s physician involved. From there, you can formulate a plan that helps the senior get back on the right track with their medication in a way that’s dignified and understanding.
Just remember: you shouldn’t do it alone, and you should avoid making accusations, which can only lead to further misuse and misunderstandings.
Are you looking for more information regarding how you can help a senior manage their meds? Always Best Care can help! Call us today at 1 (855) 470-CARE (2273) to learn more.