Common Signs an Aging Adult Is Misusing Medications

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The growing drug epidemic affects every generation of society, including older adults. Many seniors are misusing their medications, and the issue is expected to increase. John Hopkins University School of Medicine estimates by the year 2020, 2.7 million Americans over the age of 50 will be misusing prescription drugs. Be on the lookout for the following signs to determine if your senior loved one is misusing medications.

Disorientation or Confusion

Many people think disorientation and confusion are common among the elderly, but this is a false belief. It’s not normal for your loved one to seem disoriented. If your loved one is easily confused, talk with his or her doctor. The confusion could be a symptom of a medical condition or it might indicate your loved one is taking medications too often.

Families who need help taking care of their senior family members can turn to Home Care Assistance Coral Gables. One of our trusted caregivers can encourage your loved one to adopt healthier habits and help him or her age in place safely and comfortably.

Loss of Coordination

Misusing medications can cause loss of balance, visual changes, and muscle spasms. Your loved one may fall or spill more when eating or drinking, and you may notice bruising on his or her arms or legs from bumping into corners and furniture. 

Seeing Multiple Doctors for the Same Medical Condition

Doctors are becoming increasingly careful about prescribing medications known to be addictive. Your loved one may not get refills on medications as often as he or she would like, resulting in the need to visit multiple doctors for the same medical condition.

Alterations in Mood

Your loved one may be calm and relaxed one moment and then seem angry and irritated just a few minutes later. As your loved one continues to misuse medications, these mood swings may become more frequent. Once your loved one’s body grows tolerant to the medication, he or she may feel the need to take more of it.

Caring for seniors who experience frequent mood swings can be a challenging task. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Coral Gables, FL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Claiming Medications Were Stolen or Lost

If your loved one is misusing drugs, he or she may make up stories about how the medications were lost, stolen, or spilled to be able to get more medication. Keeping track of your loved one’s medication ensures he or she gets the proper dosage and refills on time.


Overdosing is a common side effect of misusing prescription medications. Many seniors use multiple medications for different medical conditions. Combining these medications, taking them more often than recommended, or taking too much to get the desired result can result in overdosing. Seek medical attention immediately should your loved one overdose.

Medication misuse is just one of the many issues older adults may encounter. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Coral Gables families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. To learn about our premier in-home care options, give us a call at 1 (305) 964-5636 today.