Would you give your baby adult medication or any drug that you weren’t aware of how it would impact your baby? I think it’s safe to assume that most people would say no. Medications impact everyone differently and some medications are safe for some and not others.
In a recent article on US News, Payton Sy explains how medications can affect the elderly. She explains that as we age, the way the body metabolizes medications changes, which can lead some medications to become stronger and others weaker.
Sy explains that the following are reasons why medications react differently in seniors:
Medications that are typically less effective in the elderly include:
Medications that typically have stronger effects in the elderly include:
The reason medications are less effective in the elderly is due to the stomach getting less acidic as people get older; certain medications require an environment with a higher acidity to be metabolized properly. Medications that have stronger effects typically act on the central nervous system.
Long term use of these medications can lead to:
Sy also explains that certain health conditions can present differently in older adults. For example, a symptom of a urinary tract infection can be confusion instead of painful urination.
I sat down with Twin Lights Home Care Case Manager Donna Chalmers to discuss her thoughts on this topic. I began by asking Donna how common it is for adverse drug affects and health conditions to present differently in the elderly.
“Health conditions present differently in older adults a lot. It’s very common.” Donna says. “Many clients I have worked with have gone to the hospital for a UTI without realizing that is what it was.”
Donna continues by explaining how families will be concerned when their loved one begins to act confused and agitated with no explanation. “They bring their loved one to the hospital and are told they have an untreated UTI,” Donna explains. “It’s so common, but when your loved one begins acting differently, thinking they have a UTI is not the first thing that comes to mind.”
At first, families can be very confused as to why certain health conditions present drastically different in their older loved ones. However, after experiencing it the first time, families and caregivers are better equipped and educated to deal with such things.
When caring for older adults and administering medication, it is important to have open communication with the individual’s doctor(s) and to monitor any side effects.
If you have any questions about home care for your loved ones, you can contact us. You can also check out the rest of our blog posts on our website.
Written by Madison Chalmers
Image by Freepik