Prescription Drug Abuse and the Elderly


Elderly Care in Ballantyne NC: Prescription Drug Abuse and the Elderly

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Persons aged 65 years and older comprise only 13 percent of the population, yet account for more than one-third of total outpatient spending on prescription medications in the United States.” With the easy access to these drugs and the possible chronic pain or anxiety that prompted their prescriptions, the stage is easily set for abuse of these medications. The most abused prescription drug is opiates or painkillers and antidepressants.

Specific Concerns with the Elderly

Recently, there has been an increase in hospitalizations involving elderly who have improperly used their prescription medicines. These admissions were most commonly associated with overdose from pain medications.

  • The Number of Medications. As the number and type of medications increase, the susceptibility to drug interactions becomes more evident. This also includes any over-the-counter remedies or supplements your loved one may be taking. Make a list of all of these items and bring it to their pharmacist. They will be able to detect any possible drug interactions or concerns and suggest alternatives.
  • Age-related Changes in Drug Metabolism. As the body ages, it can no long metabolize what is put into it with quite the same efficiency. This can lead to drugs building-up within tissues of the body and, ultimately, drug toxicity. Make sure your loved one takes their medication according to the prescription and takes food or water with it as needed. Ensure they always have a glass of water by their side to help flush out toxins.
  • Forgetfulness. If their memory is waning or they are experiencing one of the forms of dementia, they may easily forget when they took a medication or forget the correct dose. Using a drug dispenser that has an alarm an also dispenses the correct dose can help combat this.

Intentional Abuse

Intentional abuse is a whole different animal and one that needs to be addressed as soon as it is evident. Elderly people often make this choice due to the desire to feel better, out of boredom, or to cover up emotional wounds such as loneliness or loss. If you notice prescriptions are showing up empty before they should or there are multiple prescriptions from different doctors, it is best to make an appointment with their primary health care provider and discuss a possible solution. If it has progressed to a serious abuse, a residential treatment program may be warranted.

Elderly Care Provider

An elderly care provider can assist with the daily activities of living as well as remind your parent when the appropriate time is to take their medications. They can watch for any deviance in this schedule and ensure your loved one is staying active and engaged in order to limit any of the emotional factors that may be contributing to prescription drug abuse.

If you or someone you know needs elderly care in Ballantyne, NC, contact the caregivers at Affordable HomeCare. We provide quality and affordable care for many disabled and elderly loved ones in our community. Call us at (704) 323-5454 for more information.



About Ted Nagraba

I am the Owner of Affordable HomeCare of Charlotte, North Carolina. Affordable HomeCare provides an alternative to the traditional solutions of nursing homes or other retirement institutions. Now, even with physical limitations, you can live the most independent and enjoyable life possible. With our personalized live-in or hourly care, you can continue to live in the comfort of your own home.