Healthy Aging at Home Tips
Up to two thirds of Canadian seniors over 65 are on five or more prescription medications, and that number jumps to 10 or more prescriptions for 40 percent of seniors aged 85 and over. The numbers are even higher in care facilities; it's common for patients to be on 20 -25 different daily prescription medications.
Some commonly prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications carry side effects that can increase your loved ones' risk for falling.
From anti-depressants to heart medications to OTCs, these types of medications that affect functional movement and/or impair cognitive processing can produce side effects such as:
lowered blood pressure
visual disturbances (ie: blurred vision)
decreased bone density
Given the tendency for seniors to be over-prescribed, don't hesitate to request regular and thorough reviews of your loved ones' medications. Know which drugs they are on (both prescribed and over-the-counter), why they are on them, the dosage and frequency, and how long are they to take them.
Talk to their Pharmacist. This professional specializes in knowing medications, their potential interactions with each other, and if there's an alternate that has fewer side effects. Make sure both their GP and Pharmacist are on the same page.
Tell their GP of any supplements or herbal products your loved one is taking as they can potentially interfere with a prescribed medication's desired effect.
Don't be afraid to ask for justification if told a medication needs to be taken "for life" - especially if there are other alternatives. Blood pressure medication is a perfect example. A positive change in lifestyle habits (decreased stress, improved diet, exercise, sleep, etc) contributes to lowered blood pressure to the point where medication may no longer be necessary.
There can be sound, legitimate reasons for your loved one to be on a medication for the rest of their life, just make sure to do your homework, be informed, take lots of notes and ask lots of questions!
Next: Lack of Exercise. Loss of muscle mass (strength) and range of motion (flexibility) are major causes for the increased risk of falling in the elderly. Read about simple, effective suggestions to develop and maintain your loved ones' mobility and independence.
© Nancy Glover | Aging With Grace www.AgingwithGrace.ca
Do you need help with setting up a plan to effectively track the medications your parent or spouse needs?
Contact Nancy to inquire about a Caregiver Action Plan assessment where all aspects of care are reviewed in order to help families create a more dynamic and positive experience for the care of their loved ones.
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Nancy Glover, a healthy aging advocate, mentors extraordinary women and men who have stepped into the challenging role of caring for their elderly spouse or parent by managing their well-being in the later stages of life.
Blending first-hand expertise with practical step by step systems to support the needs, goals, and desires of the elderly spouse or parent, Nancy helps caregivers maneuver the complex and often challenging role with supportive advocacy and resources that equally focus on everyone’s well-being.
Learn more about her at www.agingwithgrace.ca and sign up to receive timely information and strategies to empower caregivers and families in transition.