Elderly with Functional Impairments at Higher Risk for Misuse of Prescription Drugs

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 22 percent of older adults in the United States experience functional impairment which is characterized by the difficulty to perform daily living activities as well as challenges with concentration or decision making due to emotional, mental, or physical conditions. 


Another recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that functional impairments among individuals age 50 and older are associated with a higher risk of medical cannabis use as well as prescription drug misuse. The author of the study later commented that a link might exist between functional impairments and the misuse of prescription drugs. Given the concern for such a high rate of misuse of prescription drugs among elderly adults with functional impairments, you must know what you can do to help your loved one.


Remember the Aftermath of Drug Abuse is Severe


The consequences of prescription drug abuse are to be taken seriously. As a person’s body develops a tolerance for a certain drug, the individual will often end up asking for a stronger dosage. Additionally, a dosage that might be appropriate for a younger individual might not be the best for an elderly person. Some of the consequences that commonly occur when an elderly individual ends up addicted to a prescription drug and using it in a way that constitutes abuse include depression, loss of interest, low attention span, and respiratory failure.


Only Take Medication as Prescribed


Regardless of its effects, it’s a good idea to only take medicine in a way that conforms to your health care provider’s instructions. This means never taking a prescription drug that your health care provider has not prescribed for you. Taking another person’s prescription medication can prove dangerous. Misuse of medications tends to lead to drug addiction. You should also do everything possible to avoid skipping doses even if you don’t think a medication is working. Remember, failing to take medicine as prescribed could result in your condition getting even worse.


Stay Aware of Potential Interactions


Adverse drug reactions occur in various situations including when a medical condition results in a medication being more harmful than usual or something else like food or medication you commonly take has an adverse reaction with the medication. Other medications should not be taken with alcohol and can lead to substantial disruptions in a person’s ability to perform daily tasks if taken this way. Some medications can also lead to side effects that resemble other health problems faced by older adults. One of the best ways to stay in control of potential interactions as well as reduce the chances of drug abuse is to record every medication that a person takes as well as the reason why this medication is being taken. 


Speak with an Experienced Elder Law Attorney


The elder law process is full of challenges, but a knowledgeable lawyer can help you care for your loved one in the best manner possible. If you need assistance with an elder law issue, do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Law Firm

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