Missing medication doses seriously affects senior health
Not taking prescribed medication has serious consequences for older adults.
According to a top medical journal, it causes about 125,000 deaths and 10% of hospitalizations every year.
But the number of people who skip medication doses on purpose is shockingly high. Studies show that 50% of medications for chronic diseases aren’t taken as prescribed.
In her New York Times article, Jane E. Brody shares the main reasons why people purposely don’t take their medicine and the importance of taking medication as prescribed.
We highlight 3 key points from the article and share suggestions for what to do if seniors aren’t able to take medication as prescribed due to financial reasons.
3 reasons why seniors are not taking prescribed medication
1. They don’t believe in taking medicine
There are many people who just don’t believe in taking medication, even when they have serious health conditions like heart disease, kidney failure, or vascular disease.
Others find that taking medications remind them that they’re sick, so they avoid them altogether.
And some people want to use natural remedies instead. Making healthy lifestyle and diet changes to improve overall health is always recommended.
But there are many situations where drugs are absolutely necessary to manage a serious health condition. That’s why it’s essential to follow the doctor’s instructions.
For example, someone might try to take fish oil supplements instead of prescribed statins for heart disease.
Fish oil might be a helpful supplement for someone who doesn’t eat fish, but can’t reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke like a prescription statin would.
2. They think not taking medication is harmless if they feel fine
Sometimes people will stop taking their prescribed medication for a few weeks to see what will happen or how they feel.
If they feel fine, they assume the medication isn’t needed because nothing bad happened when they stopped taking it.
Unfortunately, there are many diseases that can significantly damage health without any noticeable symptoms.
For example, without a doctor’s evaluation, a person wouldn’t be able to notice if drugs that treat diseases like heart disease or high blood pressure are working.
3. They think taking medication isn’t worth the cost
Medication can be expensive, but even when it’s affordable, some people think it’s not worth it.
They may feel like their health condition isn’t a big deal, so why spend money on medicine?
And when medication is expensive, people may feel even more strongly about not taking it.
In situations where money is tight, some will take less than the prescribed dose to make the pills last longer. Unfortunately, that only makes the medicine less effective.
In the short run, it might seem like not taking medication is a good way to save money.
But in the long run, the effects of not taking medication will likely cost significantly more in medical bills when a health emergency happens.
What to do if seniors aren’t able to take medication as prescribed
If negative side effects or financial concerns result in your older adult not taking prescribed medication, discuss it with their doctor right away.
They can help find a treatment that works better or refer you to helpful resources.
For example, there are programs that help with prescription costs, tips for convincing someone with dementia to take medication, and pill organizers to keep track of doses.
Recommended for you:
- 8 Tips to Avoid Harmful Drug Reactions and Overmedication in Seniors
- 11 Ways to Get Someone with Dementia to Take Medication
- How Seniors Can Get Help Paying for Prescription Drugs
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
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