Dear Dr. CC
My Grandfather is supposed to take about 13 different prescription drugs. I feel this cannot be healthy for him. I know I’m not a doctor, but I do not feel good about him taking all these chemicals. I am not his primary caregiver so I do not have a chance to talk with his health team about this. Can you tell me something that will help me help him please.
Grand Pa’s Favorite
Dear Grand Pa’s Favorite,
What a nice position you hold with your grandfather. However, since you are not the primary caregiver, and I assume (since you did not say otherwise) not the person who has his healthcare Power of Attorney (POA), your inclusion in his medical care is very limited.
There are ways you can help, though. Talk to his social worker, Certified Personal Care Aide (CPCA), visiting nurse, or ask him if he’d allow you to attend a doctor’s visit with him so you can express your concerns to his physician.
There is an insightful website at http://www.drugwatch.com/seniors/ that makes it easy to look up and into commonly prescribed drugs for seniors and what the issues might be with any of them. Do your homework before challenging his healthcare team about any particular medications you are worried about.
You might also consider getting family caregiver certification for yourself or your primary family caregiver. The information contained in the program (even if you do not take the certification test) at CertifiedCare.org is priceless and will help you immeasurably.
Did you know:
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, around 81 percent of seniors take prescription medication. Nearly 100,000 emergency room visits by older adults (starting at age 65) occur annually due to adverse drug reactions. Over 40 percent of people over age 65 take five to nine medications every day. The American Geriatric Society provides physicians with a list of potentially inappropriate medication for older adults, based on factors meeting the “Beers Criteria,” which was last updated in 2012 to include 48 medications that may lead to adverse reaction.
If you are not a certified family caregiver you are probably committing ignorance based elder abuse. Get online family caregiver information, education, certification CertifiedCare.org