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A growing concern for family caregivers is the
possibility of a loved one’s accidental overdose.
This is an issue I hear about with alarming
frequency as we travel the country on our Fearless
Caregiver Conference tour. If nothing else, the
statistics bear out the potential for danger to our
Older women consume 60 percent of all
prescription and over-the-counter medications. The
number of prescriptions written for older adults
averages 18.5 per person per year, and 83 percent of
people over 65 are taking prescription medications.
With this many medications to take on a regular
basis, an accidental overdose could be a problem for
anyone; but for many of our loved ones, the risks
are increased by memory loss, hearing difficulties
and low vision.
It is vitally important that, as caregivers, we
pay attention to the potential for an accidental
overdose by a loved one.
Some things we can do:
Pay attention to any changes in their speech
patterns, mental acuity, physical strength or level
of depression or confusion.
Regularly check the medicine cabinet and
refrigerator for medication usage patterns,
expiration dates, and to ensure timely refills.