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How Medications Affect Us As We Age

Many seniors find themselves in a bind when it comes to taking their medications. While prescription drugs can make a healthy and productive lifestyle possible, they are also associated with side effects which can change over time in unexpected ways.

That leaves us with the question, how do medications affect the elderly? The effects vary from person to person fairly widely, depending on the drug, the patient’s physical condition, and the environment. In other words, it’s very hard to predict. Fortunately, if you provide care for an aging parent or loved one, there are some common medication issues that you can look out for to ensure the health and safety of the family member under your care:

  • Liver – Age may weaken the efficiency of the liver, slowing metabolism. Many seniors will need to reduce the dosages of certain medications to accommodate this gradual change and ensure that medications are metabolized properly.
  • Kidneys – Kidney function tends to decline with age. The older you are, the harder it is for your kidneys to carry out drug elimination. With similar side effects to the kidney as the liver, reduced dosages of medications can help.
  • Central Nervous System – Many seniors suffer from memory loss, making it harder to remember to take their medication on a regular basis. This increases the need for reminders and memory aids. Some seniors may even want to consider part-time home caregivers in Boca Raton who can provide prompt medication reminders to maximize safety.
  • Stomach – Due to digestive changes, it often takes longer for a drug to be fully absorbed in a senior’s body. Although this doesn’t mean the total effect will be diminished, seniors may need to discuss the issue with their doctor and modify their medication or prescription plans accordingly.
  • Eyes – Adults with poor eyesight may have a hard time reading the directions for a prescription. This problem can sometimes be the underlying cause of otherwise unexplained negligence.

What You Need To Know

The truth about medications for seniors is that they are a necessary evil, with both advantages and disadvantages. Because older adults are more vulnerable to adverse reactions like overdoses and side effects and because they are more likely to be taking multiple drugs for multiple conditions at the same time, it is important that the benefits of medications are always weighed against the risks. And when in doubt, speak with your aging loved one’s doctor or primary care physician for an expert opinion.

For more information about senior health and wellness, contact Home Care Assistance of Boca Raton at 561-826-9282. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and can help you provide the highest level of quality care to your aging parent, grandparent or loved one.