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 Are there out of date prescriptions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
Physical Elder abuse can happen during the holiday season , a joyous season also fraught with family tension.
Family caregivers are of the most vulnerable. . They teeter on a thin ledge where they can slip on the knife’s edge of elder abuse. Neglected, untrained, unpaid yet representing 78% of the long-term care system, family caregivers are stress on steroids. You may personally know what I mean. Most kin, in spite of the constant worry and tension, do a heroic job. Yet certain groups of caregivers are vulnerable to cracking up and some are predisposed to a cycle of violence. How do we know who might be a perpetrator?
Let’s take a step back and see who is a caregiver. The aging 21st century family is no longer the nuclear family made up of 50’s TV Ozzie and Harriet, and their famous kids Ricky and David. Divorce and long distance have shattered what we knew of that family. Now the aging family and its’ care providers are not just blood relatives. It’s not just David who cares for Harriet and Ozzie. Ricky, if he were still alive, might be divorced or both he and David might have new wives .So we have multiple caregivers and grandchildren who are steps, halves and fictive kin.
Or you may have partners caring for older family members, friends, neighbors, and significant others the aging family .The family itself has washed over its banks just like the Mississippi flooding New Orleans.
Because growing old means suffering chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s and cancer, the care receiver demands more and more care. The caregiver may be unwilling or unable to keep filling up this bigger and bigger plate. Their backs get more and more weighed down like the proverbial camel. Some last straw, some new demand may just shatter that spine and cascade the family member over the ledge, falling down Niagara without a barrel. In their terrifying freefall some family caregivers commit elder abuse
What are some triggers to elder abuse in families? The number one detonator of elder physical or financial abuse is bad past relationships. That miserable family past might harbor child abuse, child neglect, child abandonment, or alcohol or drug use involving the now aging parents. When the some inner barrier that holds back pain cracks, it can result in violence and deceit. If the family of 50 years ago suffered some searing hurt which carries through to the present, that old wound can turn into a fist or a slap in the here and now. So some adult children and family caregivers are horribly vulnerable to violence in the present aging family.
In a susceptible family caregiver, what are some care receiver triggers that can make them snap.
• Verbal aggression
• Refusal to eat
• Refusal to take meds
• Calling police
• Embarrassing displays- taking of clothes
• Physical aggression
• Vulgar habits – example spitting
• Disruptive behavior
If you have concerns about caregivers and elder abuse., call you local Adult Protective Services . I have also included a chapter a caregiver assessment in my text Care Managers and the Aging Family, Jones and that has a section on caregivers and elder abuse. You can order the book on my website as well.