Are you or a loved one having difficulty managing your medications? Did you know that adults over the age of 65 account for about 12 percent of the population but account for over 30 percent of all medication used in the United States? Many older adults are taking medicines to manage more than one chronic condition. The Center for Successful Aging offers expertise in the evaluation and management of multiple medications for adults who have cognitive disorders and/or complex medical needs.
If you or your loved one sees multiple doctors or specialists—and each doctor prescribes a different medicine—it can be difficult to keep track. Taking pills on the prescribed schedule can greatly reduce the chance of having an adverse reaction. Adverse reactions can be very serious and can include illness, falls, confusion, hospitalization, and even death. When an individual has a cognitive disorder—such as memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease—the risk of medication errors is even higher.
How does the team at the Center for Successful Aging help manage medications for patients with cognitive disorders?
- Care Coordination: At the Center for Successful Aging, each patient is served by a care coordinator. This person is a nurse, a nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant. One of the roles of your care coordinator is to keep all of your doctors on the same page about your care and medicines. Your care coordinator will make phone calls to each of your doctors and will let them know when any of your medicines are changed or adjusted.
- Pharmacist Medication Review: Your team at the Center for Successful Aging includes geriatric pharmacists who specialize in medication safety. Together with your doctors, our pharmacists can simplify your medication schedule, coordinate refills so that you get all of your pills for the month at the same time, and provide you with special tools and packaging to make it easier to keep track of your medicine schedule.
- Medication De-prescribing Clinic: Our team will work with you and with your doctors to decide if there are any medications that can be safely stopped or if doses can be reduced.
- Resource Connection: Medications can be very expensive. Many families have told us that they skip doses or do not get medications refilled on time because of high costs. At the Center for Successful Aging, our team includes clinical social workers who can help families find programs to assist them with paying for medications.
- Environmental Modifications and Caregiver Training to Address Behavioral Issues: At the Center for Successful Aging, we understand that medicine can be a helpful tool for reducing some of the behavioral issues that accompany dementia. However, these medications sometimes have adverse side effects. Our clinical team and therapists have many years of experience working with people with dementia. They can suggest non-pharmacological techniques to help manage behavioral changes without medications. Utilizing these techniques often makes it possible to reduce the use of drugs prescribed to control negative or dangerous behaviors in older adult dementia patients.