Senior Medication Management and Medication Non-Adherence (What You Should Know)

A senior woman holds multiple packs of prescribed medication having difficulty with medication management.

A female adult daughter helps her elderly mother with water glass take prescribed medication, both seated on couch.Medication management among older adults—particularly those age 65-plus—is becoming a growing concern. Did you know that 55% of the aging population in the U.S. is non-compliant with their prescription drugs? Additionally, an estimated 200,000 seniors are hospitalized each year due to adverse drug reactions.

These statistics (and others) are particularly concerning to those aging in place and the family members who help care for them. Adult children tasked with caring for an aging parent, for example, worry and wonder:

  • Is my parent able to take medication as directed and on time?
  • What if my parent forgets to take daily medication?
  • How will I know if my parent misses a medication dose?
  • Are there ways to help ensure my parent takes medication as directed, without being present every day?

At HandsFree Health, our founders asked these same questions, empathized with those asking them, and came together to create a comprehensive solution: The WellBe® Voice-Activated Healthcare Assistant. Before we reveal how WellBe tackles these issues above, let’s consider an important question: Why is medication non-adherence such a significant problem among seniors?

Common Barriers to Successful Medication Management Plans for Seniors

A senior man wearing glasses holds his temple in concern, prescribed medication in front of him on table. The barriers to successful medication management for seniors may be more robust than what most people would imagine. For example, one study revealed that between 75% and 96% of aging people admitted to making mistakes with their medication. And, in doing so, most confessed to making phone calls to national poison information services because of their medication errors. 

One of the top reasons for medication non-adherence for seniors—as you’ll see below—is forgetting to take prescribed medication. And, while forgetting a dose poses its own set of health risks, accidentally doubling up on prescription medication likewise results in potential dangerous outcomes. 

Take a look at some of the most common barriers to medication compliance among aging people in the U.S.:

  • Fear, Worry, and Misunderstanding 

Seniors are often concerned or even fearful about the potential side effects of the prescribed medication. Additionally, they may misunderstand these side effects. Seniors may not hear or understand their provider’s explanation or instructions. Increasing worry may cause them to avoid having the prescription filled or to stop taking it altogether.

  • Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

Studies show that aging populations with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory-related conditions are at higher risk for medication management problems. These individuals are more likely to:

  • Forget to take medication all together
  • Skip daily medication doses
  • Take multiple doses of medication (not remembering they had already taken it earlier in the day)

Taking medication improperly can lead to serious health consequences, including overdose or increased side effects. 

  • Social Isolation

Studies reveal that seniors who are socially isolated and lonely have a higher probability of medication nonadherence. Those who are socially isolated with a chronic disease are even more at risk of being non-compliant with their medication. 

  • Multiple Medications

A male senior in a blue shirt gets ready to take daily prescribed medication as part of his medication management. Having to track and be responsible for multiple medications can be confusing and overwhelming. The more medications, the greater risk of forgetting, skipping, or doubling daily doses.

Why is Medication Management Important?

Medication management is crucial for seniors’ health and well-being. Medication non-adherence can lead to serious health complications—including hospitalization. Not taking medication as prescribed contributes to worsening health problems, which can be dire for those with existing chronic diseases. 

With real and dangerous barriers in the way of successful medication adherence, the obvious question is, What does successful medication management look like?

After all, many adult children caregivers have busy lives of their own. They can’t be in several places at once or provide daily service as a pharmacist or medication reminder. They need a simple, effective solution to ensure their loved ones take their prescriptions and stay well.

WellBe Voice-Activated Healthcare Assistant is that solution. It removes barriers and encourages successful medication management with the following features:

  • Medication and appointment reminders 
  • Information about prescribed medications (including any side effects)
  • Notifications if you or your loved one when a daily medication dose has been missed
  • Prescription drug management (compiling a list of all prescribed medications—100% HIPAA compliant)

Other reasons why seniors and family caregivers love WellBe is for its additional capabilities, which include:

  • Emergency medical alert (U.S.-based) monitoring system (24/7 365 days a year)
  • Health vitals tracking such as weight, blood pressure reading, and glucose levels
  • Social isolation prevention keeping seniors connected to family and friends; they simply upload contacts and reach out using voice commands 
  • Entertainment access, including audiobooks and music, weather updates, and the latest news

Freedom Begins With Your Voice

Medication management doesn’t have to be a burden. All it takes for WellBe to work is your voice and an electrical outlet! Seniors feel empowered by having a live-in healthcare assistant. Family caregivers have peace of mind knowing that their loved one is set-up with reliable reminders, health assistance, and more—simply by talking to WellBe. 

Shop now, and experience true freedom. 

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