Medication Management and Older Adults

Medication Management and Older Adults
by Sue Parker, OTR/L, CCM
Geriatric Care Manager

Medication and the aging process bring many issues to the forefront. The following are a list of problems that may be a concern not only to the person taking the medication but to their family, loved ones, pharmacist and physicians.
* Non-adherence to medication regimens
* Use of multiple medications
* Excessive financial burden of following medication regimens
* Duplicate therapy such as taking both generic and brand-name forms of the same medication
* Discrepancies between how someone takes the medication and what their physician prescribes
The following are questions that should be answered concerning appropriate medication management:
1. Do you know the names of your medication and why you are taking them?
2. Do you or your loved one have the mental capacity to follow the regimen?
3. Can your or your loved one be taught a new way to take medications?
4. Do you have the financial resources to afford your medications? (if not the physician needs to have that information so that the individual does not space out or cut the pill in half to last longer without physician's knowledge)
5. Can you or your loved one get your medication from the drugstore or other source?
Some solutions to problems regarding medication management:
* The use of a pill box can assist with managing medication
* Simplify the regimen
* Encourage person, family members and physician or other healthcare professional to work together to come up with an acceptable plan
* Ask family members to assist with the plan
* Offer memory aids such as phone calls and written instructions
* Provide education to the person about their medications and their purpose
* Devise an economic plan to that the person can afford their medications
Improving medication management for older adults is a continual challenge. If one suspects a problem there should be an assessment of the individual including their functional status (this includes, sight, hand function, memory etc.) and from there an individualized plan can be created.