No, we’re not advertising some outrageous production of Grease—although it does sound like fun! It is Medication Safety Week, so we’d like to talk all about medication side effects, medication reduction, and how to stay safe!
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 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 like 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 to improve your condition.
Edgewood Healthcare and its partners are making strides in medication reduction. From thoughtful computer programs to bringing our clinical partners right on-site, we’re paving the way to better health outcomes in general for our residents.
When a new resident joins Edgewood, the staff meets with each of them and their family members or legal representatives. Together, they review all medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and nutritional supplements. Staff members are liaisons between residents and medical professionals to 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 secured, 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 struggling to take 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.
Edgewood combines senior living and healthcare under the same roof that residents call home. We’ve taken the guesswork out to help residents enjoy their retirement. If you’re interested in senior living solutions, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!