5 Signs an Aging Loved One Is Misusing Medications

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As seniors accumulate more prescriptions, the risk for medication misuse increases. While medication misuse usually occurs due to health conditions such as memory loss, it may also happen if your aging loved one develops a dependency on a medication that generates a desirable effect such as pain relief or relaxation. For this reason, you should always be alert for signs your loved one may be having difficulty taking medication as it is prescribed.

1. Increased Accidents or Injuries

Many medications generate side effects such as dizziness or fatigue that could make it difficult for your loved one to function properly if he or she takes the wrong amount. These side effects also increase the risk for accidents. You should be concerned if your loved one suddenly experiences new or unexplained injuries that indicate a fall, such as bruises or a broken bone. Seniors who misuse medications may also have difficulty driving and experience collisions in their vehicle.

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2. Noticeable Daytime Drowsiness

Although some medications list drowsiness as a side effect, you should be concerned if your loved one is unusually sleepy throughout the day. Stay aware of your loved one’s usual energy levels, and ask if anything has changed. If your loved one had enough rest but still feels drowsy, it is possible the medication needs to be adjusted or he or she may be taking too much.

3. Missing Pills or Frequent Refills

Typically, seniors are provided with enough medication to last them through the course of an illness. For long-term health issues, their medications may be prescribed monthly. Since physicians tend to prescribe exactly the amount that is needed, your loved one should not run out of medication before it is time for the next refill. Talk to your loved one about his or her current medication routines, and consider having someone help with medication management.

4. Secrecy Regarding Medication Use

Your loved one may begin to demand more privacy regarding medication use if he or she is intentionally misusing prescriptions. For example, a senior who suddenly begins to take too much of a pain medication may hide the medications or refuse to accept help with the dispensing. While a need to take larger amounts of medication could be a sign your loved one’s health is worsening, it could also signify a growing dependency. Either way, a consultation with your loved one’s physician can help you identify the reasons behind the secretive behavior.

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5. Behavioral Changes

Medication misuse may result in personality changes you notice when you visit your loved one. For instance, your loved one may be more talkative than normal or have high energy levels if he or she takes too much of a medication that is meant to regulate mood. Alternatively, he or she may be confused or disoriented after taking too much of a medication. Always follow up on any behavioral changes your loved one exhibits to find out if he or she needs help managing medications.

If your loved one needs help remembering to take medications or managing other daily tasks, consider hiring a professional caregiver. A caregiver can help your elderly loved one manage his or her health in a variety of ways. If your loved one needs encouragement to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, or socialize on a regular basis, an in-home caregiver from Home Care Assistance Denton can address these and many other health-related concerns. To create a customized in-home care plan for your elderly loved one, give us a call at 972-468-6010 today.

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