I’m a great believer in respecting our elders and them passing on their knowledge and experience to help us get on in life. Yes, many have outdated ideas or perceptions of “the youth today” and have old fashioned values. But they are still here, many into their 80’s and 90’s. Many are fitter than us mid lifers. So why is it that as soon as you are 65 or pensionable age, you are considered by current legislation, an older person. That’s the age we should start to decline, shouldn’t be working or maybe not long on this mortal coil?
We may have reasonable health and fitness most of our working life but it’s at this point, earlier for some and much later for others, that especially after retirement, we “start to fall apart”. The mind set for many?
All the education we have about getting older gracefully, keep active physically or mentally, something kicks in and we start to have “problems”.
Many are lucky and can keep going but with many more this mind set of getting older brings on comparing ailments and frequent trips to the surgery and with it automatic prescriptions. We’ve been used to being prescribed medication throughout our years but usually only short term, 1 week, a month. But as we get older the prescriptions are ongoing, repeated every month, without need to see a doctor. Yes they have reviews but how many people remember how they felt before being prescribed. Some even admit to not following their medication guidelines.
It seems standard that most have at least 4 prescribed meds. Ailments usually arthritis, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes and more often than not, have been victim of a stroke. May have only been a TIA, but medication suddenly gets tripled and doesn’t get questioned. A few do look at their life style and diet so as to refrain from having to take anything, but most accept they are getting older and increased medication comes with the territory.
In my work I have met people who will not go to have their cataracts removed or go for that hearing test their children keep on at them about, but will accept the side effects from the multiple medications they are on. This is often out of fear that something will go wrong or that they’ll seem like an elderly person. Yet unknowing either having more health problems as a result of long term use or becoming addicted to certain medication.
What are our older population being prescribed? How do we know which are not appropriate for elderly use. Some antipsychotic drugs may not be appropriate for our older population with dementia especially women as can worsen confusion. Some drugs can have adverse effects or even have no effect at all due to long term usage.
When visiting our local surgeries, we never get to see our doctor anymore. It could be another partner or a locum. All experienced and qualified, but may not know our history. When discharged from hospital, additional medication is prescribed. More work is needed to educate our older trusting more vulnerable members of our communities to ensure their medication is appropriate, in date, not counter active to other medication prescribed and most important, the side effects are not going to be life threatening.
(C.W. actively works to ensure that all older people are safe, secure and their needs are appropriately met.)