Medication Management for Seniors in an Assisted Living Community

Thursday, 30 November 2017 16:10
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assisted living chattanoogaThe Miracles of Modern Medicine

As we age, it is natural for the human body to become more susceptible to a range of chronic health conditions, both due to the accumulation of risk factors and natural changes brought about by time. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and chronic lower respiratory diseases are now leading causes of death due to increased life expectancy, but the good news is that science equips us to manage these chronic conditions better than ever through a combination of medication and lifestyle choices.

Assisted Living communities cater to both of these, keeping residents physically active to reduce obesity and also helping them to manage the variety of medications that seniors frequently need to take on a regular basis to manage these conditions. These prescriptions may be used to treat concurrent medical conditions, posing an increased risk of drug interactions if not taken as directed by a physician.

The benefits of modern medications are impressive – pain relievers lessen arthritis so the senior can continue buttoning his or her own shirt, for example -- but with the benefits come potential hazards. Toxicity and adverse drug interactions pose a constant threat to anyone taking medications, particularly older adults who often take multiple prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

The Dangers of Poor Medication Management

Some incident involving their medication can often be what triggers a senior’s initial move to an Assisted Living community. Perhaps Mom or Dad forgot they’d just taken their pills a few moments earlier and double-dosed or skipped taking doses, leading to an aggravation of their chronic condition. It’s hard for people of any age to remember to take their medications at set times to completion, as prescribed, but the risks can be elevated for aging parents. A third of emergency room visits by older adults are caused by adverse drug events, according to a white paper from the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living.

When the senior transitions to retirement living, families gain peace of mind knowing their loved one gains the “safety net” of services such as medication reminders while still enjoying the independence of their own apartment, as well as transportation to and from their doctor.

Assisted Living: Balancing Quality of Life with Enhanced Safety

The great thing about Assisted Living is that it is a more affordable alternative to nursing home care, which is intended for those needing around-the-clock medical care. Residents no doubt prefer living in a home-like environment, opposed to the clinical setting of a nursing home. Increased quality-of-life is a major area of focus, balanced with the senior’s need to remain safe and secure.

Regency care providers work to make sure residents are given their medications at the right times and at the correct dosages. Treatment can include reaching a physician to obtain or verify a prescription. Challenges include coordinating complicated medication regimens from multiple prescribers and healthcare providers, some of whom may not specialize in geriatrics. Further complicating things, the resident may have impaired cognition and communicate in a confused state. Managing the accuracy and confidentiality of health records is another facet of providing care to our residents.

Because of all these factors, the importance of training our people cannot be overemphasized. We work to provide the resources that are necessary to help staff provide quality and excellence in care.

Other Ways Regency Encourages Healthier Seniors

It has also been said that the food we eat is a medicine within itself. In that sense, Regency communities consult nutritionists/dietitians to ensure meals are not only tasty but cater to the management of chronic health conditions. Diabetic residents, for example, must have their condition factored into meal preparation.

Finally, Assisted Living communities like Regency’s offer scheduled activities to keep residents moving because this encourages longevity and better health, as well as creating opportunities for social interaction that science suggest may be critical to long life and happiness.

To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

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