Numerous studies show that noncompliance with medication taking is an epidemic among seniors and is one of the top reasons that people are rehospitalized. Some reports indicate more than 50% of elders do not take their medications according to the prescription. The risk is obviously much higher among persons with dementia. Even people without dementia who have normal age-related memory loss have heightened risk of medication non-compliance as they age. The result of not properly taking medications can range from minor to life threatening.
Proper hydration and nutrition often decline when memory loss occurs. Dehydration and malnutrition affect mental and physical well-being and may lead to the need for medical treatment and hospitalization. Reminders to eat and drink on a regular basis can be critical.
Most family caregivers can ensure their parent has the proper medications, foods and liquids in the home, but cannot be there all the time to be sure they are taken properly.
While Touching Hearts caregivers cannot give clients their medications or set them up, they can play an invaluable role in ensuring medication compliance.
- Reminders and encouragement to take medications and eat and hydrate properly
- Observing proper practices e.g. taking medication with meals, etc
- Observing and responding to any bad reactions to medication
- Monitor, track and report on medication usage and food/liquid consumption – early detection of problems
- Pick up prescriptions
- Encouraging/prompting physical therapy and other important exercises
- Greater compliance with prescription taking
- Reduction in instances of re-hospitalization or medical relapse
- Peace of mind for family caregivers