The average senior takes about seven different medications, both prescription and over the counter, every day. This can explain why it can be difficult to remember and keep track of them all. However, the consequences of forgetting could be deadly if this leads to taking the same medication twice and overdosing. Skipping doses can also be critical as for most medications it is important to keep on a regular schedule. Remembering to take medications correctly, especially for seniors, is of utmost importance.
The government estimates that about 125,000 people die each year in the United States for failure to properly take their medications. In addition, the cost of the preventable hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and repeat physician trips due to improper medication is approximately $100 billion per year. It is estimated that about 58% of all seniors make some kind of error when taking their medications, and about 26% of these mistakes have potentially serious consequences.
Taking medications correctly can not only help prevent unnecessary hospitalization, doctor visits, and even death but can also help you maintain your independence longer. About 23% of seniors are admitted to assisted living facilities due to the inability to self manage prescriptions at home. If you are capable of taking your medications correctly, you should do so to ensure that you can stay independent as long as possible.
However, sometimes it is necessary to have a caregiver present who can help seniors ensure they are taking medications properly. Many retirement communities and assisted living facilities offer medication management to their residents. Even though many seniors will resist giving up their independence, a move to a place where medications can be administered properly could be a lifesaving decision. The importance of taking medications correctly cannot be overemphasized, especially for seniors.