Is Your Dad’s Confusion Dementia or Too Many Prescriptions?
by Carol Bradley Bursack, Editor-in-Chief
Many adult children find themselves worried about their parent’s failing memory or balance issues only to discover that the parent is taking an armload of drugs prescribed by different doctors. Once all of the drugs are examined by one doctor and many of them eliminated, the parent is often back to a normal pattern of life. Keeping all of the prescriptions at one pharmacy can also help.
As people age, they generally have more health issues than when they were younger. This often means more doctors become involved in their care, which can mean more prescriptions.
Unfortunately, if the elder sees different doctors, especially those at different clinics and hospitals, prescriptions are not always tracked efficiently. This can lead not only to over-prescribing, but interacting drugs and increased side effects, where doctors are unknowingly prescribing one drug to counteract the side effects of another drug. Add to this the fact that the aging body often is generally less tolerant of drugs than the younger body and there is the potential for serious negative results.
More than once I’ve had someone talk to me about their parent’s balance problems or their “foggy brain.” The adult children chatting with me about these issues are often the out-of-town siblings of the in-town caregivers. The families are generally close, and there is typically one person who keeps an eye on mom and dad because they live in or near the parents’ home town.
The in-town caregivers see their parents regularly, and the changes are often gradual, so they aren’t always aware of the more subtle changes in their parents’ health.
Elder Care and Prescriptions: A Fresh Set of Eyes
Then the sibling who hasn’t been home for a year shows up and is appalled. She notices Dad is hanging onto whatever he can grab when he gets up from a chair and sees that he is uncertain when he walks. He wasn’t like that last year. The visiting sibling also notices Mom has gotten forgetful and that everyone around seems to automatically cover for her.
For more information about how the caregivers at Andelcare can help your family with your home care needs, call 888-788-3051. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable in home care in Seattle WA and the surrounding communities.