Medication Noncompliance: Know the Dangers, Reduce the Risks for Seniors
Medication noncompliance is common for older adults, and extremely dangerous.
Medications can both enhance and save lives, but there is a hidden risk that can create dire consequences — the danger of medication noncompliance. Statistics show that upwards of 125,000 people lose their lives every year as a result of prescription medication noncompliance, a number that’s twice as large as those who die from auto accidents. And although many people assume they’re taking their medicines correctly, medication adherence problems are actually quite common, including:
Neglecting to fill a prescription for a recommended medicine
Skipping at least one dose
Taking the wrong medicine
Taking an excessive amount of a prescribed medication
Stopping a medication too soon
Incorrect use of medical equipment such as inhalers and syringes
Taking damaged, out of date, or improperly stored medications
Medication noncompliance can be particularly hazardous among seniors, many of whom take multiple prescription meds. However, research has revealed that with the proper knowledge, motivation, and support, older individuals can break through the barriers to medication adherence. As the top-rated provider of home health and rehabilitation services Burlington, IA and the surrounding area seniors trust, we’ve highlighted some of the challenges in following a prescribed medication plan, and tips to overcome them:
Memory Problems: A top difficulty in medication adherence among seniors is loss of memory. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s might forget to take their prescriptions or may even take multiple doses, having forgotten that they had taken a dose earlier.
Tip: Make taking medicines a part of an ongoing, everyday habit, making use of medication dispensers and/or charts to stay organized.
Swallowing Problems: Some older individuals struggle with swallowing pills, and as a result, may attempt to chew or crush medications, triggering long-acting drugs to be released into the body too quickly.
Tip: Ask the health care provider or pharmacist if the medication is available in a liquid or smaller pill form that is simpler to swallow.
Accessibility Problems: Many seniors have difficulty with transportation and/or ambulation, making it hard to get to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and refills.
Tip: Check into mail order prescriptions that are delivered to the home, or contact Advanced Home Health Care for assistance.