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5 Signs an Elderly Loved One Is Misusing Prescriptions

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Prescription medication is prescribed by a doctor, but this does not mean it is always safe. Many prescription medications have a high addiction risk, so seniors who need to use these pills for certain conditions might end up misusing them. Keep an eye out for the following signs of prescription drug abuse in your senior loved one.

1. Unusual Sleeping Patterns

Many prescription drugs have either a stimulant or depressant effect, so they can greatly alter a senior’s sleep patterns. Seniors who are misusing their prescriptions may sleep at unusual times. Your loved one might suddenly get sleepy even during social events, conversations, or hobbies. You may also find he or she is wide awake during the middle of the night or no longer sleeping at least seven hours each day. All of this disordered sleep can lead to classic signs of fatigue like irritability, dark circles under the eyes, and forgetfulness.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home care Palm Desert, California, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

2. Not Following Proper Dosage

Seniors may be taking more than the recommended amount to get a stronger effect or overcome a drug tolerance they have developed. Check the labels on your loved one’s medication to see how much he or she is supposed to take. Though your loved one might occasionally forget to take a medication or take it twice in one day, it is unusual to repeatedly use too much. You may notice this is happening if your parent is suddenly requiring prescription fills more frequently than recommended.

3. Personality Changes

Prescription drug addiction is often accompanied by significant changes in personality. Seniors who are addicted to a medication tend to withdraw and lose interest in their former activities. They may become grumpy, secretive, depressed, or anxious. In some cases, seniors who are abusing prescription medications may become very cheerful or talkative while under the influence of the medication.

4. Lack of Personal Care

Some seniors who rely on prescription pills may no longer be able to take care of themselves. They may lose weight because they are not eating and begin to look disheveled due to a lack of personal hygiene. You might notice your loved one having difficulty taking care of his or her home or pets. Even if your loved one is not abusing prescription medication, not being able to manage personal care independently is a sign he or she requires more care.

If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Palm Desert seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

5. Constantly Creating Reasons for Medication

If your loved one feels like he or she has to explain and justify each medication before taking it, this may be a sign he or she is feeling guilt or concern about the usage. Seniors with a prescription misuse issue may try to get even more medication by making up imaginary health conditions. Another sign of addiction is constantly switching between doctors if the previous doctor is not prescribing as many medications as desired.

If your older loved one needs help remembering to take medications, consider hiring a professional caregiver. There are a variety of ways your senior loved one can benefit from having a caregiver. Professional in-home caregivers from Home Care Assistance Palm Desert are trained to assist with meal prep, mobility and exercise, personal hygiene tasks like bathing and grooming, medication reminders, and much more. To hire a professional respite or live-in caregiver, call us at (760) 345-0001 today.