The GCM Assessing the elderly client in a geriatric Assessment needs to include prescription drug abuse. Drug dependency and misuse in the elderly population entails both the use of illicit drugs and the misuse of prescription medications. Drug dependency develops faster in this population because of an older adult’s slower metabolic process. The kidneys and liver are not as efficient in removing these substances from the body in older adults. Currently, a very small number of older adults have a lifelong history of illegal drug use. However, this number will rise dramatically as a result of the longer life expectancies and the widespread acceptance of recreational drug use among more recent generations
The most common drug misuse among older adults is with psychoactive medications for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and pain. These medications can cause both physical and psychological dependency.
Women are more at risk for drug dependency because they are more likely to seek treatment for somatic complaints and other emotional problems. The care manager must pay close attention to all medications currently prescribed by the older adult’s physicians and must be aware of multiple pharmacies to prevent duplication that could potentially lead to lethal dosages.
Give a great Holiday Gift to Your Elderly Parent- Check the medicine cabinet.
What are some signs of prescription drug abuse problems that geriatric care managers and families should look for during holiday visits? One-third of all drugs prescribed in the United States are intended for patients who are 65 or older. The risk of prescription drug abuse and addiction is a major danger in the elderly. elderly. Loneliness, chronic pain and the wide availability to get and abuse of prescription dregs make them very dangerous. Not only that poly pharmacy is all to easy two types of drugs are musts abused, pain med and psychoactive drugs for depression and anxiety . Medication problems in the elderly, which include prescription drugs abuse, stoke hospital readmission.
Symptoms can include
• Loss of coordination (walking unsteadily, frequent falls)
• Changes in sleeping habits
• Unexplained bruises
• Being unsure of yourself
• Irritability, sadness, depression
• Unexplained chronic pain
• Changes in eating habits
• Wanting to stay alone much of the time
• Failing to bathe or keep clean
• Having trouble concentrating
• Difficulty staying in touch with family or friends
• Lack of interest in usual activities.
Signs to look for
Signs of a problem include:
Requesting refills more rapidly than prescriptions permit
Having multiple prescribing physicians who are unaware of the others’ prescriptions,
Having a doctor who is unaware of certain symptoms that another specialist is treating,
What to do
Check the medicine cabinet.
1. Over-the-counter meds aren’t free of serious side effects, and those problems are often magnified when older adults mix them with alcohol.
2. Using laxatives on a regular basis can cause chronic diarrhea, leading to a sodium and potassium imbalance that can threaten your heart. Antihistamines can cause confusion, and cold medicine can cause a spike in blood pressure, which can lead to a stroke.
3. Make sure your senior knows how to safely use any OTC meds in his or her possession.
4. Are there out of date prescriptions
5. Are there prescriptions for the same drug from multiple doctors?
6. Is there prescription for the same drug from multiple pharmacies?
What to do.
7. Call a geriatric care manager after your holiday visit.You should locate one in the area where your older relative lives. Give the gift that keeps on giving, a professional to guide your elderly family member to a safer happier life.
According to Paula’s Span ‘s New York Times blog New Old Age, about assisted living 70% of all older people in assisted living drink alcohol.
Does that surprise you? Over the holidays geriatric care managers and afmilies of people need to worry about alcohol.
Substance abuse or dependence, including alcohol use, drug misuse, and nicotine use, can have severe negative physical, cognitive, and psychological consequences for older adult. Geriatric Care manager screening for this is essential, not only to detect the problem, but to identify potentially harmful interactions with other physical and mental conditions that could lead to high blood pressure, falls, or memory loss. Improper substance use can increase comorbidities and interfere in the treatment process, and therefore increase medical complexity.
Having a clear definition of what constitutes problem drinking in the elderly is difficult,
With younger adults, clear criteria are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, including disruption of role function, financial instability, and decreasing social networks. But these criteria can be present in the older adult population at large without a substance abuse problem. Additionally, substance abuse problems are masked by other problems associated with aging, including falls, injury, confusion, self-neglect, depression, emotional liability, memory loss, sleep disturbance, and adverse drug interactions. Furthermore, an elder’s tendency to use alcohol frequently or heavily is dismissed as “the only vice she has left” or “something to help him sleep.
So this holiday, if you spot alcohol problems call a geriatric care manager after your holiday
visit. You should locate one in the area where