Caring for a loved one can bring the two of you closer together. It can also be profoundly stressful. Caregivers receive little social support, and it takes a toll on their well-being. Nearly 60 percent of California’s Caregiver Resource Center’s clients show symptoms of depression. Another study found that 41 percent of people who cared for a spouse with Alzheimer’s had depressive symptoms. Caregiving can can even affect your physical health; seventeen percent of caregivers say their health is fair or poor, compared to just 10 percent in the general population.
Many older adults want to live at home for as long as possible, and for good reason—a comforting place full of memories can be difficult to leave. However, aging adults have to be aware of a few specific challenges that can arise when living at home independently, including managing medications. Seniors living at home, alone or with a partner, can be especially vulnerable to dangers associated with medication mismanagement.
Older adults have many options for where to live as they age. Most seniors prefer to stay at home, in the house they have loved for years, whenever possible. In fact, AARP reports that of seniors 65 and older. 87 percent desire to stay in their home and in their community as they grow older. Many older adults are able to fulfill this dream, with the Institute on Aging reporting approximately 11.3 million seniors living successfully at home alone.
Medication for seniors saves lives, boosts independence, and reduces pain. But for too many seniors, the burden of daily medication management is too much. Twenty percent of patients who take one medication a day are unable to follow their doctor’s medication recommendations. Among seniors taking four or more pills a day, that figure soars to 50 percent. Missed pills can cause chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes to get worse. Seniors who take too many pills can experience catastrophic health issues such as negative drug interactions, drug overdoses, and painful side effects. In addition, over or under medicating can contribute to the risk of falls, leading to a variety of other complications including broken bones, hospitalization, or the inability to call for help.