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.