March Wellness Corner

March Wellness Corner

by Marilyn Johnson, Parish Nurse

Because I receive so many questions regarding medications, I wanted to give some updates for older adults from the Northwest Regional Council (NWRC) / Northwest WA Area Agency on Aging; Medication Awareness Handbook for Older Adults

DID YOU KNOW?

Older Adults Have More Medication Problems

Older adults are 6 times more likely to have a poor medication outcome than the general population. There are reasons for this, namely:

  • As people age their bodies change; kidneys do not work as well to get rid of medicines so the medicine stays in their bodies longer. This lowers the dose needed to be effective for many medicines.
  • Older adults may not hear as well and may not wish to appear foolish by asking doctors and pharmacists to repeat verbal instructions.
  • It is not uncommon for older people to see multiple specialists for chronic illness. Note: Doctors do not automatically know what other professionals have already prescribed.
  • Older adults may not want to question why a particular medicine is being prescribed.
  • Limited fixed incomes may cause seniors to discontinue medicines, cut their dose in half, or take the medicine less frequently.
  • Finally, medicines commonly taken by older adults were not tested in older adults. Medications that appear to be perfectly safe in younger people may not be safe in older adults.

DEFINITION

Drugs are substances other than foods intended to affect the structure or function of the body. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, caffeine, vitamins, herbal and other “natural” supplements.

A common mistake older adults make is to forget to disclose ALL of the drugs taken on a regular or even an occasional basis. Not telling your doctor about smoking or alcohol consumption can make a prescription drug ineffective or even dangerous.

ALWAYS ASK YOUR DOCTOR QUESTIONS IF YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND SOMETHING. YOUR DOCTOR AND PHARMACIST WORK FOR YOU.

REMEMBER, it is still flu season…

#1 wash your hands frequently following any public or family exposure where illness of any kind is suspected or any exposure linked to shopping carts and other common-use items

#2 direct sneezes and coughs to inside of elbow

#3 stay home if coming down with cold or flu

#4 drink fluids and eat extra healthy (Lots of fruits and veggies!)

Safety begins with teamwork!

All the first aid kits have been updated and 3 new kits have been bought to ensure that that every kitchen has a safety kit. Thank you Marilyn Johnson for organizing the kits. Thank you Tammy Eshom for making the beautiful updated building maps that show the locations of all first aid kits, fire extinguishers and exits. Please let the office know about any safety issues. Thank you!

Marilyn Johnson is our current Parish Nurse, you can contact her at 360-695-1221 ext. 28 or email her at parishnurse@trinityvancouver.org.