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How to Tell If an Aging Adult Is Misusing Prescriptions

Many seniors take multiple prescription medications each day. However, managing several prescriptions can lead to intentional or accidental medication misuse. Here are a few ways caregivers can tell if their senior loved ones are misusing medications.

Taking More Than the Prescribed Dose

Some drugs don’t have an instantaneous effect. Drugs such as antidepressants need to build up in the system for weeks to be effective, and it’s unlikely that seniors would intentionally overdose on this type of prescription. Other drugs like pain medications are designed to provide quick relief. To alleviate pain, seniors might exceed their recommended dosage. If you suspect your loved one is overdosing on a particular drug, research the common side effects and be on the lookout for symptoms such as mood swings or unusual lethargy.

Medication misuse is just one of the many issues older adults are susceptible to. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Anchorage families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Confusing Medications

It can be easy to mix up dosages or swap one pill for another, especially when using multiple medications with similar names. Swapping drugs such as Zantac for Zyrtec can lead to several health issues. If your loved one has difficulty managing multiple medications, purchase a pill organizer and help him or her fill it at the beginning of every week. Forgetful seniors may also benefit from a pill organizer with a built-in alarm, which will alert them whenever it’s time to take their medications.

Developing Behavioral Signs of Overdosing

When a senior’s drug misuse is due to forgetfulness or a simple mistake, it’s usually easy to rectify. If a senior has formed a dependence on a prescription medication, it can be difficult to curtail the habit. Seniors are most likely to develop a dependence on opioids, benzodiazepines, or stimulants. Before your loved one can receive the proper help for this dependence, you need to spot the signs of prescription drug misuse. Many of these signs are behavioral. Your loved one may become withdrawn and isolated or loud and prone to mood swings. Disorientation is another common side effect of prescription drug overuse.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one’s changing behavior is making it difficult to care for him or her. Find out how a caregiver can help your senior loved one enjoy a higher quality of life by reaching out to Home Care Assistance Anchorage. All of our professional respite and live-in caregivers are trained in comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care, and they can also assist seniors with basic daily tasks like exercise, cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping. 

Exhibiting Physical Symptoms of Overdosing

Prescription drug dependence can also take a toll on physical appearance. Grooming habits might become erratic or inadequate, and balance may worsen. Consuming stimulants can also impact your elderly loved one’s appetite.

Changing Behavior Toward Medical Professionals

If you suspect your loved one is overdosing on prescription medications, observe how quickly he or she goes through each bottle of medication. Take note if your loved one consistently runs out of medicine early or requests refills too often. If seniors find their needs are no longer being met, they may start looking for a new doctor. In this case, intervene and get your loved one the help he or she needs.

From managing their medications to performing basic household chores, older adults may need help with an array of tasks. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional 24-hour care Anchorage seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your aging loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (907) 770-0907 today.

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