A friend sent me an article today with a very interesting statistic. Science Daily reports that “Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine has found that nearly 50 percent of patients taking antihypertensive drugs in three community health centers were unable to accurately name a single one of their medications listed in their medical chart.” That’s right, not even ONE of their medications. People simply can’t remember cryptic medical names, dosages, frequencies, and instructions for the multiple medications they’re taking.
It’s not hard to imagine that in a senior population where people may be dealing with cognitive decline that this statistic would be even worse. Add to this, the fact that People over 75 take an average of 7.9 medications per day and someone struggling with health issues may be taking many more. Nobody could remember all this, yet it may be one of the most critical elements to a geriatrician and other health care providers in determining treatment.
If you are a caregiver, encourage your loved one to get all their medications listed with the dosage, frequency, and any special instructions on paper. Check it and make sure it's right. If it's too complicated get help from a geriatric care manager or health professional. Make copies for yourself, and all of the health providers your loved one contacts.