The Area Agency on Aging, Medication Management Program provides information regarding the safe use of prescribed and over-the-counter medications. The program is designed to help consumers learn the safe use of medicines, the facts about medication poisoning in senior adults and teaches you to educate before you medicate.
The Texas Poison Center Network reports that adults over age 60 consume ¼ of all prescription medicines and more than 1/3 of all over the counter drug products. Senior adults medication exposures account for 45 percent of all poisonings and 41 percent of all poison related deaths in the U.S.
It is also reported that 83 percent take at least one prescription medicine, with 50 percent taking three or more prescription medicines. Some seniors are at high risk for medication poisonings, this can be attributed to the fact that 50 percent don’t have a regular routine for taking their medications.
Seniors often take multiple medications that can have potential for interaction, which can be dangerous,and sometimes lethal. There are a number of reasons why misuse of medication can occur.
Some reasons can be attributed to; impaired vision, impaired hearing, complex dosage schedules, forgetfulness, multiple medications and multiple doctors.
Some possible solutions can be; to ask your pharmacist to use larger font on label or use a magnifying glass to read labels before taking. Let others know if instructions were not heard, ask doctor/pharmacist to write or read instructions, ask someone to go with you to the doctor, write down your schedule clearly and use color to differentiate times of day.
Use daily/weekly medication dispensers, coordinate the time to take medication with specific activities such as meal time, time of favorite television program or when mail arrives etc., use memory aids and or place notes to self in places that can be seen, such as; a bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or your favorite chair, have your doctor evaluate medication regimen regularly and make sure each doctor knows all medications you are taking.
Helpful Steps To Avoid Medication Errors
- Check the label on your medication
- Make sure the bottle has your name on it.
- Make sure the directions are the same ones your doctor talked with you about. If not, ask your pharmacist.
- Ask for an easy-open cap if you have trouble opening the cap. Be sure to keep all medicines out of reach of children.
- And, most important make sure you can read and understand the directions on the container.