Medication errors can be fatal, especially with seniors. Of all the deaths that take place with medication errors, about half of them are with those 60 years of age or older. Taking the wrong dose, mixing medications, and any number of other errors can all be a contributing factor.
One in nine people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. That same age group also accounts for more than 1/3 of outpatient prescription drug use. While these may not be the direct cause of senior medication mistakes, they can all contribute to the problem.
So what are some of the most common senior medication mistakes?
Interactions with other medications – Pharmacists don’t know all the medications someone is taking. As such, they cannot advise on all interactions. When a senior or their caretaker does not check for interactions, it could cause other drugs to become ineffective or even cause serious side-effects.
Confusing medications – Medicines with similar names, shapes, and colors can be confusing. If the wrong medicine is taken by mistake, it could have harmful interactions with others.
Wrong dosage – We all know that taking the wrong dosage can have serious implications. Sometimes seniors fail to consult their doctor before increasing or decreasing a medication.
What can you do to avoid these mistakes?
Fill all prescriptions – Fill al prescriptions when they are available. A senior is more likely to take another medication in place of another when they run out.
Sort pills for daily use – There is a reason why the day of the week pill containers is popular. Take the time to sort out medicine in advance so that they can be taken at the right time.
Advocate for seniors – If possible, accompany loved ones to doctor appointments and the pharmacy in order to ensure all questions are answered.
The following visual is from Drug Lawsuit Source, a website that provides information on prescription drug lawsuits.