Addiction and Older Adults

Posted on

Aug 29, 2016

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Addiction rates are increasing in people older adults. 17% of this age group struggles with substances and by 2020 the number is expected to double. Prescription overdose deaths in older adults outrank heroin overdoses in young people.
The term accidental addict is often associated with adults 50 years and older who develop problems with alcohol or other drugs. They may have prescriptions for prescription pain pills, sleeping pills or anti-anxiety medications. Mix that with more free time, isolation, their usual one or two drinks along with a slowing metabolism and the potential for addiction becomes greater.

Stigma, shame and denial prevent people from getting help. Or sometimesits difficult to distinguish between the signs of aging and those of alcohol or other drug misuse, delaying necessary treatment.

If you have concerns about your own potential for addiction or a loved ones, reach out to a professional who knows both addiction and the needs of people over 50. If treatment is needed, find a program designed specifically for people over 50. The good news is that people respond quickly when they get the right help.

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Lasting Health: Tips for Managing Your Medication

Even the sharpest minds can get confused when it comes to taking medication in the right dosage, at the right time. If you're like many seniors, you're taking several prescriptions at one time. According to the health think tank Lown Institute, 42% of older adults take more than five prescription medications. That means keeping track of your medications can be a real challenge. Here are some tips for managing your medication schedule:Create a Medication RoutineThis could be a list or notations on a calendar used just for this purpose. (Some seniors create a separate calendar on their smartphones with alarms for when to take each prescription!) Write down the name of the drug, exact dosage and time to take each of your prescriptions. It's helpful to note if they should be taken on an empty stomach, or with food. Share the list with each of your doctors and/or your pharmacist to double check your accuracy and minimize unsafe drug interactions.Store Your Medications ProperlyEach prescription should be labeled and easy to read. Keep the containers together in one place - many seniors prefer a pill box, small storage container or shelf in the kitchen, especially if they're taking medications to coincide with a meal. Make sure you're following directions for storage (such as refrigerating if necessary or storing out of direct light). If you share your residence, each person should have a different place for medicines so you don't accidentally get them mixed up. Got grandkids coming around? Choose a place that's out of reach for little hands.Avoid Running Out or Letting Medications ExpireIf running low on a prescription is a concern for you, look for a pharmacy that offers automatic refills. That way you won't forget to have the right medicines on hand. Some pharmacies will also deliver to your residence or mail the medications for you so you don't have to make an extra trip out and you don't risk running out of a needed medication.At Amira Choice, we offer care coordination for residents who are living in our assisted living and memory care. Through our visiting providers, you can receive on-site care from a geriatric physician, nurse practitioner or pharmacist to minimize your risk of problems with medication management or other health issues. For more information about our communities and the health services we have available, contact us.

Tips for Medication Adherence in Seniors

One of the common concerns for seniors receiving Home Care Services in Fort Myers, Florida is medication management. Seniors who have multiple health issues often have trouble complying with their physicians instructions and advice. This increases the seniors risk for several health complications. To avoid this, they seek the assistance of a caring expert to ensure their health at all times.Solely providing Medication Reminders may not be enough to promote medication adherence. Here are a few tips to help you out:Provide access to health informationHealth literacy is crucial in helping seniors understand the role their medications play in sustaining and improving their health conditions. Seniors can gather information from their physicians, pharmacists, and care providers. Caregivers at our Home Care Agency are trained to impart ample information to minimize potential barriers to non-adherence.Reduce the number of medicationsThe more medications seniors have to manage, the more confusing their treatment gets, and the more likely they are to commit medication errors. If most seniors have difficulty managing multiple medications, and more so, seniors with dementia. Seniors, with the support of a Certified Dementia Care Specialist, need to review their medication regimen and inspect possibilities of reducing polypharmacy.Utilize tools and technology to manage medicationsThere are various tools designed to help patients manage their medications, such as pill containers, medication charts, and mobile applications. Additionally, with a more simplified medication regimen, it will be easier for seniors in need of Respite Care in Florida to find and utilize resources to provide minimal assistance in ensuring medication adherence.Its important to note that a seniors willingness to comply with their treatments greatly contributes to medication adherence. Luckily, our care providers at Nurizon At Home have motivating traits to spark your seniors interest in wellness.

Types of Vaccines for Seniors

Older adults typically have weaker immune systems than the younger population due to the natural effects of aging. This makes illnesses like influenza and COVID-19 inherently more dangerous for seniors. Fortunately, numerous vaccines are available to help prevent getting sick or developing severe complications. August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual observance that highlights the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. Take a look at the types of vaccines for seniors that can help this at-risk age group stay healthy and safe. Flu Shot for Seniors The influenza vaccine (Opens in a new window) gets more attention each year than any other type of vaccine. While there is some debate about its importance and effectiveness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge everyone to get a flu shot once a year, preferably in the fall at the start of flu season. Seniors are especially vulnerable to the effects of influenza, making flu shots critical for preserving health and wellness among this age group. In fact, the CDC estimates(Opens in a new window) that at least 50 percent of flu-related hospitalizations occur among people age 65 and older. Then, 70 to 85 percent of flu-related deaths happen within this age group. Here are the types of flu shots available for seniors: High-dose flu vaccines have four times the antigens as a regular flu shot. Clinical trials reveal that older adults who receive the high-dose shot are less likely to get sick than those who receive a standard dose. Adjuvanted flu vaccines have an additive known as MF59 adjuvant that helps stimulate a stronger immune response in individuals with weaker immune systems, such as older adults. This vaccine first became available in the 2016-2017 flu season. Recombinant flu vaccines are intended to provide better immunity among older adults than regular flu shots. Pneumonia Shot for Seniors Complications from pneumococcal diseasesuch as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infectionsclaim the lives of about 18,000 seniors each year. Thats why the CDC highly recommends the pneumonia vaccine (Opens in a new window) for seniors age 65 and older. Two types of pneumococcal vaccinations are used in the USpneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV13, PCV15, or PCV20) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). Individuals who have never had a pneumonia shot should get a dose of PCV13 first, followed by PPSV23 six to 12 months later. Those who have already had a PPSV23 shot can get vaccinated with PCV13 after waiting at least a year. Shingles Shot for Seniors Shingles is a viral infection caused by the zoster virus. Anyone can develop shingles, but your risk is higher if you have had chickenpox. The painful shingles rash can develop anywhere on your body, but the torso is most commonly affected. The rash itself isnt dangerous, but it can lead to complications, which tend to be more severe in older adults. These include: Toxic shock syndrome Brain inflammation Pneumonia  Depression Hearing problems Vision problems Because of the high risk of complications among seniors, the CDC recommends a two-dose shingles vaccination (Opens in a new window) for everyone 50 years and older. Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine for the Elderly A vaccination known as the Tdap vaccine (Opens in a new window) protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, diseases that can be fatal if not treated promptly.  Tetanus enters the body through a cut or wound. It causes the muscles to stiffen painfully, making it hard to move, swallow, and breathe. Diphtheria spreads from person to person. It causes thick mucus to accumulate in the throat, restricting the airway and making breathing difficult. Heart failure, paralysis, or death may occur. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, spreads from person to person. It causes severe coughing that can lead to rib fractures, difficulty breathing, passing out, vomiting, and loss of bladder control. The CDC recommends the Tdap vaccine for children age 7 and older (preferably 11 or 12), followed by a booster shot every 10 years. Seniors are more vulnerable to complications from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis and have a higher risk of hospitalization, so keeping up with Tdap booster shots is especially important for this age group. COVID Shot for Seniors 2020 saw the emergence of a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease known as COVID-19. Older adults and people with underlying health conditions affecting the heart and lungs are more likely to develop serious complications if they contract this illness. COVID vaccines (Opens in a new window) became available in 2021 after monumental efforts to curb the pandemic as quickly as possible. Every approved age group is advised to get vaccinated, with additional doses recommended for people with compromised immune systems.  While the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infection or illness, they can significantly reduce the severity of symptoms and minimize the risk of hospitalization and death. Even if you have already had COVID-19, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated because its still unknown whether recovering from the illness protects you from future infection. Hepatitis B Vaccine for the Elderly The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause lifelong infection, severe liver damage, and death. The hepatitis B vaccine (Opens in a new window) is available for all age groups and is recommended for adults age 60 and older who are at risk for hepatitis B infection. Risk factors include sexual exposure to another person with hepatitis B, exposure to infected blood, underlying liver disease, and travel to countries where hepatitis B is common. Older adults who do not exhibit these risk factors can still request a hepatitis B vaccine.