Are your elderly parents skipping Medications? Know the Consequences of Medication Non Adherence
Taking medication as prescribed is a crucial part of managing one's health, especially for older adults who may have multiple chronic conditions that require medication management. Not following medication schedules can lead to a range of consequences that can negatively impact a person's physical health, mental wellbeing, financial stability, and social relationships.
Importance of Taking Medication on Time
Adhering to a medication regimen is important because it helps ensure that the medication is effective in managing the condition it was prescribed for. Medications are usually designed to work in specific ways and at specific times. Taking medication on time, as prescribed by a healthcare provider, can help to maintain the right amount of medication in the body and prevent the condition from worsening.
Consequences of Not Following Medication Schedules
Physical Consequences of Medication Non Adherence
Not taking medication on time can lead to a range of physical consequences, including;
Adverse Effects on Health Conditions
Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, require medication management o keep symptoms in check. Not taking medication on time can result in the worsening of these conditions and lead to complications, such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure.
Exacerbation of Existing Health Issues
For older adults with multiple chronic conditions, not taking medication on time can exacerbate existing health issues and make them more difficult to manage. This can lead to a decrease in overall health and well-being, as well as a decreased quality of life.
Increased Risk of Hospitalisation
When health conditions are not managed properly, the risk of hospitalisation increases. This can result in prolonged hospital stays, increased healthcare costs, and potential complications from hospital-acquired infections. 1 in 5 hospital admissions of people above 65 in the UK are caused by the adverse effects of medicines.
Chronic Pain and Discomfort
Not taking medication on time can lead to chronic pain and discomfort, which can affect a person's ability to perform daily activities and lead to a decreased quality of life.
Reduced Mobility and Physical Functioning
Certain medications are designed to help manage pain, inflammation, and other symptoms that can affect a person's mobility and physical functioning. Not taking these medications on time can lead to a decrease in mobility and physical functioning.
Lowered Immune System Function
Not taking medication on time can lead to a lowered immune system function, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infections and illnesses.
Increased Risk of Falls and Injuries
Not taking medication on time can affect a person's balance and coordination, increasing the risk of falls and injuries.
Psychological Consequences of Medication Non Adherence
Not taking medication on time can also lead to a range of psychological consequences, such as;
Increased Depression and Anxiety
Not taking medication on time can cause increased levels of stress and anxiety, leading to a decline in mental health and overall well-being.
Lowered Quality of Life
Not taking medication on time can result in a decreased quality of life, as it can make it more difficult to perform daily activities and lead to a range of physical and psychological symptoms.
Increased Stress and Burden on Caregivers
When an older adult does not take medication on time, it can increase the stress and burden on their caregivers. Caregivers may feel responsible for ensuring that the person takes their medication and worry about the consequences.
How medication management can help older adults?
Medication management thus becomes an increasingly important aspect of healthcare for older adults.
Improved Medication Adherence
One of the primary benefits of medication management for older adults is improved medication adherence. Medication non adherence is a significant problem among older adults, with as many as 50% of seniors failing to take their medications as prescribed. Medication management tools, such as medication reminders and pill organisers, can help older adults remember to take their medications on time and in the correct dose.
Better Management of Chronic Conditions
Medication management can also help older adults better manage chronic conditions. Medications are often prescribed to manage symptoms and slow the progression of chronic conditions, but managing multiple medications can be challenging. Proper medication management can help older adults keep track of their medications, avoid drug interactions, and ensure that they are taking the right medications at the right time.
Improved Health Outcomes for Older Adults
Another significant benefit of medication management for older adults is improved health outcomes. Proper medication management can help seniors better manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, leading to improved health outcomes and a better quality of life. When older adults take their medications as prescribed, they are also less likely to experience adverse drug events or hospitalizations.
Here are some of the most effective ways to improve medication management for older adults.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
Medication management can also help reduce healthcare costs. By helping older adults manage their medications properly, medication management tools can reduce the likelihood of hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and other healthcare costs for the overall healthcare system. In addition, medication management tools can help older adults avoid unnecessary medications and ensure that they are only taking the medications they need.
Improved Quality of Life and Peace of Mind
Finally, medication management can improve the quality of life and peace of mind for older adults. When seniors take their medications as prescribed, they can better manage their health conditions, leading to improved quality of life. In addition, medication management tools can help seniors feel more in control of their medications and reduce the stress and anxiety that can come with managing multiple medications.
Medication management is essential for older adults. By improving medication adherence, health outcomes, and quality of life while reducing healthcare costs, medication management can help older adults stay healthy, active, and independent. If you or a loved one is struggling with medication management, speak with your healthcare provider to learn more about medication management tools and strategies that can help.