The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that the percentage of seniors who are living in a nursing home has dropped by 20 percent in the last decade—yet there are more seniors than ever, and the number is growing. Are seniors just healthier these days? The truth is, older adults need as much care as ever, but they are receiving it in assisted living communities, adult day centers—and for a growing number, in their own homes.
Most seniors would prefer to receive care in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own home. Yet many have trouble with the activities of daily living and managing their healthcare, especially their medications. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of older adults hospitalized due to medication-related problems has doubled over the last decade, and the number is rising as the baby boomers age. For many seniors, the ability to manage their medications may be the deciding factor when they and their families are making the decision between home and an institutional care setting.
Medicines play an important part in senior health. They are beneficial in controlling many of the diseases and conditions that older adults experience, such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and heart disease.
But medications, whether prescribed by a doctor or bought over the counter, have potentially toxic side effects that can cause significant problems. For example, it is not at all uncommon for families to suspect dementia or depression in an older adult, when the symptoms are actually caused by undesirable effects from prescription drugs. Medication problems can lead to hospitalization and even death.
In our first September post, read more about specific symptoms to look for that might suggest negative reactions to medication, and ways you can help protect your loved ones.
- Source: Assisting Hands Home Care in association with IlluminAge. Copyright © IlluminAge, 2014.