New challenges and concerns are typically just over the horizon at any given time for older adults, as the risk for injury and illness continues to increase with age. As various health issues begin to emerge, consultations with doctors and healthcare professionals often lead to recommendations for things like lifestyle changes, cutting out unhealthy behaviours and habits, and exercise programs. It many cases these recommendations are accompanied by prescription medications to help restore balance, improve health, and promote independent living.
It is quite common for seniors to be taking several different medications at the same time to address a range of medical needs. Taking the medications recommended by medical professionals may seem like a straight forward procedure, but the reality for seniors can be altogether different.
Some people have more problems with taking medications than others. For some, the very idea of having to take daily prescriptions seems burdensome and unnecessary. Others may have more difficulty trying to remember all the medications they are supposed to be taking and when.
Thoughts, doubts, emotions, worries, capacities, and other obstacles exist that can impair seniors’ ability or willingness to take the medications they have been prescribed. It is important that family members and caregivers make themselves aware of the various thoughts, emotions, judgements, and limitations that may get in the way of allowing seniors to stick to their medication schedules, in order to help seniors take proper care of themselves while also being respectful of their points of view.
There is an array of potential cognitive, physical, and behavioural changes that seniors face as they grow older. The list of possible challenges that come along with these changes can add up to create barriers that deter seniors from sticking to the doctor recommended medication regimens to keep them healthy.
Many of these barriers can be conquered with care and encouragement from caregivers, loved ones, and support systems that help seniors to better understand, manage, and stick to the routines and practices involved in taking their medications. Some barriers exist as a result of emotional or judgement-based factors that lead seniors to deliberately stray from recommendations related to their medications.
The World Health Organization (WHO) notes the following as some possible contributors for missing medications: